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THE EXECUTIONERS (2017)
Directed by Giorgio Serafini
Written by Giorgio Serafini
Starring Natalie Burn, Jemma Dallender, Rachel Rosenstein, Anna Shields, Justin Fischer, Anthony Belevtsov, Michael Santi, Giorgio Serafini, Fernando Soto Jr., Todd Thompson
THE EXECUTIONERS is a well acted and decently made home invasion flick, but that doesn’t make up for its mean spirited tendencies that will most likely leave a bad taste in your mouth.
A quartet of girls decide to have a sleepover at a cabin by a lake in the middle of nowhere. Of course there’s no cell reception. And no help for miles, but who cares. Nothing bad is going to happen. Until, of course, it does. When three masked men wearing cameras lay siege to the home, at least these girls are prepared with a firearm and some knives. This doesn’t stop the rape, torture, and horrors to come.
This is a slickly produced film. The scenery looks good. All the camera work is competent. All of the actresses are personable and gorgeous, each in their own way. And in terms of an entire package, it’s a nice looking piece of schlock cinema. Unfortunately, while there is a lot spent on getting to know the girls, there’s also a lot of focus on the torture, rapes of multiple women, and the punishment of these atrocities that include…more rape and torture. I don’t want to sound like a prude. Films like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT were shocking, but also significant in depicting the horror of rape and the vengeance that burns within after the act occurs. I have no problem with a film using these elements as a means to say something new about these disturbing acts, but aside from putting it into a pretty package, there really is nothing added to this subgenre in THE EXECUTIONERS. Sure, some might argue that this is a film about empowerment, about seizing the opportunity to fight back against aggressors, but with the gratuitous amount of female nudity, extended time spent on the torture and rape of the women, and the breezy way the torture and rape against the men are attended to, this film really just degenerates into rape revenge porn and little else.
The other problem is that the extreme revenge isn’t really that extreme after all. Even the remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE managed to shock with some extreme gore and horror. Here, the gore is pretty tame. Slit throats, beheadings off camera, gunshot wounds, and some crossbow arrows are really all the carnage you’re going to see here. Had the film stepped up the bloody revenge bits, it might have at least garnered some respect as it visually shows the horror rape unleashes. But none of that is present in THE EXECUTIONERS.
There is a late in the game twist that is rather surprising. I won’t reveal it here, but it actually sort of gives some sense to a film that feels rather random from the beginning. Good acting and a slick presentation is not all you should offer when you are dealing with a topic as serious and resonant as rape. I’m not saying these films shouldn’t be made, but there needs to be some thought behind the violence in films like this. In the culture we currently live in, films like THE EXECUTIONERS feels a bit more archaic than it would have been just a few years ago. Still, actresses Natalie Burn, Jemma Dallender, Rachel Rosenstein, and Anna Shields are all really good and deserve to be in more films. And director Giorgio Serafini might have good things ahead of him, given the way this film looks. I just feel like this film doesn’t know exactly what it wants to say about the violence that occurs within THE EXECUTIONERS.
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