Friday, March 11, 2022

Exploited: Movie Review

A sex-filled horror slasher.

The one-sentence premise of Exploited, a college freshman finding a video of a possible murder and wanting to unravel the mystery, could go a number of different ways. I was not expecting a psycho-sexual horror film that verges on pornography and pure evilness. Horror fans are probably less surprised by the directions this film took, but for those that are horror-averse, this is not a fun watch.   2022

Directed by: Jon Abrahams

Screenplay by: Carl Moellenberg, Anthony Del Negro

Starring: Jordan Ver Hoeve, and Will Peltz

It’s low budget and the setting doesn’t really work given the limitations. They worked hard at the beginning to establish the college aspect, but then it’s limited outdoor scenes, freshman classes with only a handful of other people, and the small cast interact only in dorm rooms. Even with the web-cam based premise, that setting doesn’t work to the film’s advantage. It doesn’t feel like college at all. And without the college feeling, it’s really hard to connect to these characters.

It seems like there are two different sex-themed angles that the film is throwing at us. There’s the pro-LGBTQ, almost-subtle hints at Brian’s bisexuality or gay-curious-ness which is nice, but it opens with a very in-your-face dominatrix web-cam sessions which is way more gratuitous than fitting the college and finding yourself theme.

Every characters’ reactions to the found videos are incongruent with expectations. Caused by both weak acting and spending more time on their sex lives and not giving the audience a good handle of who they are as people.

Maybe I’m expecting too much out of a sex-filled horror slasher, but then again I wasn’t expecting a sex-filled horror slasher. Even as a horror film, it doesn’t work. The Big Bads are telegraphed very early on. For the first one, even before we know what genre the film is playing at, we know how evil she is, and the second one is supposed to be a twist ending, but it’s not surprising given the character serves no other purpose.

By the time Exploited is over, I can understand what it’s going for, a sex-positive horror slasher set amongst college students all exploring their sexuality, but the majority of the characters are poorly written and the rest of poorly acted, save for maybe Will Peltz as Brian’s brother Jacob who gives a different flavor to his scenes and makes it a bit more enjoyable.