Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2021: An Eye for an Eye – Revenge Horror

Horror is one of the strongest genres for harnessing the acts that inspire revenge and the act of taking revenge itself. This block of films runs through many reactions to revenge, from the cathartic to the empty disappointment of unserved justice. All films are available to watch on February 5th from 10pm until midnight CET. You can see more about the shorts and buy tickets from the Revenge Horror webpage.

There Will Be Monsters

Directed by Carlota Pereda

There Will Be Monsters operates as a smart and hard-hitting story with meta elements. Introducing an initially incredibly unpleasant encounter involving a group of men who stop to harass an intoxicated and vulnerable woman on a bench there is a palpable sense of danger. Of course, it wouldn’t be in the revenge category if her initial vulnerability wasn’t turned on its head, which the film manages in economic fashion without ever fully revealing what she is. The final moments are quietly foreboding and sadly relevant, offering comment on the escapism that horror fiction provides from real horror.

Girls’ Night out of Body

Directed by Hillary & Courtney Andujar

A neon skull lollipop looks to spell disaster for the three friends who have taken it from a shop, despite it not being for sale. The set design in this is wonderful, with the motel they stop at full of retro, tacky furnishings that lend the film a lurid and otherworldly sense of style. In another example of this block’s layered storytelling, the revenge being taken for the theft is taken in another direction that ups the style factor even further with a great soundtrack and impressive effects.

La Caza / The Hunt

Directed by Amy Fajardo

La Caza departs from the focus of younger women taking revenge and takes the viewpoint of Alba (Teresa del Olmo). Alba is worn down by her daughter’s marriage to Arturo (Sergio Reques) and given the way he speaks to her, it is understandable. The film deals in the starkness and remote nature of the surroundings, making the trio feel all the more trapped together. Teresa del Olmo’s performance is incredible in its sense of hardly restrained bitterness and that tension manifests physically in every movement. The elements of repetition also assist in creating a stifling atmosphere.

Rong

Directed by Indira Iman

This hyper-stylised and slickly edited short about a woman attempting to walk home alone hits all the right notes for revenge horror. Introductory shorts of men looking at a woman are drenched in silent threats and the escalation of that threat is played in suitably sinister fashion. Skilful in both its use of studied closeups as well as making the most of its secluded location with dramatic lighting it is visually striking even as it explores the deeply unpalatable. Clever in its use of repeated dialogue and with an dark sense of magic in its movement, Rong leaves an impact.

Scout

Directed by Kodie Bedford

While none of the films in this section make for particularly comfortable viewing, Scout is arguably the most difficult. Scout (Katherine Beckett) is kidnapped from her flat and finds herself held captive in a trafficking ring. There, she is involved in tense companionship with Jodie (Shakira Clanton) and Andy (Tamala Shelton) as the trio come to terms with their situation. The contrast between their living conditions and the club they are brought to operates as a powerful visual for the difference in power relations between the groups. Those power relations are played with throughout, in the differing reactions among the women, some forming intense attachments with captors while Jodie’s anger at the way missing women are treated depending on their race strikes a chord. Building a truly ominous tone and not shying away from the grimness of the situation, Scout is an effective, empathic film.

The Fourth Wall

Directed by Kelsey Bollig

From the opening moments, featuring a woman’s voice directing and altering the opening credits, The Fourth Wall presents itself as a film about subjectivity, perfectionism and taking control. Lizzie Brocheré’s Chloé is aggrieved by her co-stars, with their sexual relationships and lack of ability to speak French disrupting her own sense of performance. Chloé’s frustration translates into self-destructive rage that the film draws you further into with a near-constant low-level thrum on the soundtrack as she moves through neon-lit corridors. Brocheré’s magnetic presence, the flowing backstage camera work and darkly comic edge all combine to create something really special.

Check out the full line-up for Final Girls Berlin Festival 2021 at their program page.

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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