GIRL HOUSE **** Canada 2014 Dir: Trevor Matthews. 99 mins.

A strong, suspenseful directorial debut for Canadian actor / writer Trevor Matthews (best known as the star of JACK BROOKS MONSTER SLAYER), this has a brutal opening in which a humiliated pubescent boy violently avenges his treatment by a pair of cruelly giggling girls. He grows up to be shlubby, sweaty, gibbering social misfit Slaine, who frequents a hugely popular porn site named “Girl House”, ostensibly a porn version of the Big Brother house in which an assortment of well paid, performing hotties are captured 24/7 for the masturbatory pleasure of the paying public.
He is particularly drawn to their latest recruit, wholesome student Ali Cobrin, and his technological capabilities allow him to penetrate Girl House’s supposedly invulnerable systems and murderously invade the house itself. Offering a passing commentary on the changing face of pornography in the 21st century and also several nods to a classic study of voyeurism from a far different era (Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW), GIRL HOUSE functions well as a contemporary slasher flick, delivering the abundant nudity the set-up promises, alongside familiar slasher elements including the down-trodden antagonist avenging his mistreatment by society at large. It’s wittier than most, however, with some smart dialogue, neat incidental details (notably the cutaways to “typical” Girl House viewers at two very different time periods) and a streak of gallows humour that stretches to the grimly funny sight of a girl with no fingers trying in vain to type an SOS message. Cobrin is an appealing heroine while Slaine totally convinces as the twitchy misogynist who sprints at his victims in an unsettling feminine mask and long black wig (shades of Leatherface). It isn’t afraid to get nasty on us: one comely young femme is choked on her own dildo and another bleakly offs herself rather than face a future with her beauty tarnished.

Review by Steven West

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