To me, one of the most heinous crimes humankind can commit is rape. It is an abominable act that robs innocence and can leave both mental and physical scars. Because it is so horrific, the act therefore makes an interesting subject matter for horror flicks. I like rape-revenge movies because they almost always give the rapists what they deserve: gory and horrifying dismemberments and, in some cases, death.
JULIA is a newly released film in this genre, courtesy of Archstone Distribution. It is dark and gritty, an atmospheric piece that shocks and surprises. And although it does not bring anything new to the table, the film is still potent and entertaining.
If you are not familiar with JULIA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Archstone Distribution:
A neo-noir revenge thriller centering on Julia Shames, who after suffering a brutal trauma, falls prey to an unorthodox form of therapy to restore herself.
I will admit this is not an excellent film, but it is very good nonetheless and certainly worth watching. The few spots where it is lacking are forgivable, especially when considering this is director Matthew A. Brown’s feature-length debut (according to his IMDB page). I look forward to his future projects, and I cannot wait to see his talents bloom.
JULIA is shot very well, and the cinematography helps set the dark tone for the film. Unfortunately, the camera quality gives the film a grainy look, which does not help at all during the darker scenes. Thankfully, this only happens a couple of times, and it does not detract much from the entertainment experience.
The acting is great, with Ashley C. Williams portraying the titular character. She presents a varying emotional range and thus gives a very believable performance as a victim-turned-vigilante. She is supported by a talented cast that includes Tahyna Tozzi, Joel de la Fuente, and Jack Noseworthy.
The story is a pretty typical empowerment plot, however it does come with a couple of twists. Julia is ‘helped’ by a mysterious doctor, who uses a group of previous female patients to coach her. The coaching involves doling out justice to would-be rapists and sleazebags, however she is instructed to never try to take revenge on her attackers. But this is never fully fleshed out, and therefore the questions that remain in the viewer’s mind after the credits roll only hurt the story. For example, what does the doctor’s past have to do with his current methodology (we are given a one-sentence explanation at the end, but it makes no sense)? And given the amount of carnage the group inflicts on strangers, why should a victim not confront her attackers?
Yet despite the lingering questions, JULIA is still entertaining to watch, and I recommend giving it a look. It is not on the same level as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, but it strives to be. This film showcases the talents of an up and coming director, and I will wager we will be seeing more of him in the future. JULIA hits select theaters today, so make a note.