Ginger Nuts of Horror
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THE BUNNY GAME (2010)
Dir. Adam Rehmeier, USA, 76 minutes
So, the results of our March Madness Poll are in, and today’s we’re looking at the winning movie. I was pretty surprised at the result, in fact – The Bunny Game landed almost 20% of the vote, running nicely clear of the other placed contenders in Antichrist, Martyrs and Excision, which we'll also be looking at in the near future. There were many better known movies in the list than the underground cult hit that is The Bunny Game, so it was genuinely pleasing to see this one come out on top. Kudos, and thanks to all of you that voted. And in the winner you’ve selected what might just be one of the most disturbing movies we've watched yet.
The Bunny Game follows a prostitute only identified in the credits as ‘Bunny’, played by the excellent Rodleen Getsic. The opening shot is simply, no nonsense and no fakery, her performing fellatio on a guy – presented in real detail as well. The scenes that begin the movie follow her everyday life in a couple of montages – smoking, wandering the streets, doing drugs and getting with an increasingly dubious array of Johns just to get by. She’s angry, disaffected and I don’t think ever cracks a smile in the whole movie. But, bearing in mind what’s to come, there’s no way she should...
The real story begins when she gets picked up by a trucker, an odd character she quickly becomes uneasy around, yet when she tries to make her escape it’s too late – the chloroform rag is already over her face, and a horrifying personal nightmare is about to begin...
Bunny is tormented by the trucker ‘Hog’ in any number of different ways, both psychological and physical but always with the pure aim of causing pain on all kinds of levels. The term ‘torture porn’ gets bandied around a lot, but this one might just fit the bracket – in fact it’s so full on that’s it’s still banned by the BBFC.
The black and white style gives it a certain visual beauty, and some of the shots presented are really unusual and interesting – there are scenes here that will remain emblazoned in my mind for some time. When you look hard at this one, and particularly look into the movie’s production, you come to realise just how close this one comes to meeting the definition of a snuff film. It’s inspired by a real-life kidnapping that Getsic endured, giving it an uncomfortably close-to-home feeling, and she fasted for 40 days before filming began to create a more desperate and weak frame of mind as the movie’s victim. Her tormentor is portrayed by Jeff Renfro, a non-actor and an actual trucker in real life. The whole experience took place over 13 days, extraordinarily with an ‘anything goes’ policy. So when Getsic is slapped, has her head shaved, is forced into rough sex, gets a plastic bag pulled over her face and gets branded (yes, I kid you not) all of that is genuine and real. The only thing simulated is the drug use, which in the grand context of things seems slightly pointless.
Watched through that lens, The Bunny Game is about as disturbing as it gets – knowing so much is real adds an extra layer of discomfort to the viewing experience. As a film, it’s interesting to watch, visually arresting, but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline to speak of and might have been helped by being a bit shorter (despite not being over-long at 76 minutes). It feels like an experience in filmmaking, much more of an hideous montage than a coherent movie per se, which is not a criticism but an observation. You could easily have said the same of some of the most twisted movies we’ve endured here, including Thanatomorphose and The Vomit Gore Trilogy – although The Bunny Game is distinctly more psychological than those offerings. If you consider yourself an expert in extreme, you can’t miss this one as a viewing experience. If you’re easily disturbed or faint of heart, then I would seriously suggest you go and look elsewhere.
RATING: 7/10. A tricky one to rate, and a film with an extraordinary background that is a watch pretty much like no other. With all of the above said, and hats off to all involved for the incredibly dedicated approach, the movie itself doesn’t really have a plot as such, doesn’t really feature any kind of redemption for either character and ends pretty abruptly. If you’re ready to feel genuinely disturbed, and have the stomach for it, then this could be a rewarding experience for you. If you prefer something more traditionally movie-like, then this might not float your boat.
Film Gutter Volume 1 is the full collection of 2015 reviews and interviews from Ginger Nuts of Horror's popular Film Gutter series, looking at some of the most bizarre, grotesque and disturbing horror features ever made. With over 50 movie reviews plus interviews with directors and actors including Tom Six, Dieter Laser, Matthew A Brown Jimmy Weber and Phil Stevens. Film Gutter Volume 1 also takes in a host of exclusive content, including the much-requested 'most disturbing movies' list!
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