I like not knowing exactly what I’m store for with a film. It’s always nice when you go into watching something with one idea of what kind of movie it will be and the film ends up being something completely different, which is definitely the case with Austin Chick (AUGUST, XX/XY) ‘s GIRLS AGAINST BOYS. Billed and marketed as yet another rape-revenge entry, the film blows that away and instead gives you a really well written and shot examination of a young woman who has been mistreated and pushed to her mental and physical breaking point, and how she reacts to that.
GIRLS AGAINST BOYS follows Shae (Danielle Panabaker, Platinum Dunes’ FRIDAY THE 13TH remake), a young woman who goes to school during the day and bartends by night. After being dumped by her older boyfriend (who ends up having a wife and kid), Shae breaks down at work and is met by Lu (Nicole LaLiberte, DEXTER, the upcoming SCHISM), a wild and fiery (in attitude and appearance) free spirit who invites her out for drinks to get her mind off of things. One thing leads to another, and after a night of partying, Shae is raped by Simon (CLOVERFIELD‘s Michael Stahl-David), and then left to her now damaged self. After the police are unwilling to help (and after Lu decides to murder a cop for being mean to Shae), Lu helps Shae track down Simon, his friends and anyone else who has wronged her, and exact some pretty intense revenge on those people.
Though the premise sounds like the typical rape-revenge setup and payoff, GIRLS AGAINST BOYS never quite falls into that cliche’ trap set by previous films that deal with similar topics. The rape scene isn’t even shown on camera, instead the focus stays on Shae’s keychain, stuck in her door. It’s these types of shots that Chick gives us that elevates this film to something else, a movie that is closer tonally to Simon Rumley’s RED WHITE & BLUE or Lucky Mckee’s MAY than any I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE or LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT fare. Instead of letting the story end there, what we then get is an examination of obsession between Lu and Shae, as Shae begins to be appalled by what they’ve done, while Lu revels in dispatching anyone who gets in their (and eventually anyone who gets in HER) way. The more obsessed that Lu gets towards Shae, the more Shae withdraws, and when a boy shows affection towards her object of obsession, Lu’s scorn is felt all around.
Eventually everything leads to a very visually well shot and almost poetic ending, and we’re left to wonder, if everything happened the way it was shown, or was Lu just a side of Shae’s personality the whole time, carrying out what Shae couldn’t do herself? What makes the film’s ending great, is the fact that it’s not given away, it’s a very grey, far from a black and white, tied up in a bow finale’. As a viewer, you’re left to decide what you think it all meant, and that works splendidly for the film.
GIRLS AGAINST BOYS is now available on Bluray/DVD/VOD via ANCHOR BAY.