Thursday, December 9, 2010

DVD REVIEW: Run! Bitch Run! (2009)

RUN! BITCH RUN! (2009)

STUDIO: Vicious Circle Films
RATED: Unrated
GENRE: Exploitation, Horror
DIRECTOR: Joseph Guzman
CAST: Cheryl Lyone, Christina DeRosa, Peter Tahoe, Johnny Winchester
RELEASE DATE: Available Now!
TAGLINE: Payback's a Bitch!

PLOT: Catherine and Rebecca are two Catholic School girls going door-to-door selling Religious paraphernalia in order to pay for their books and education. Things go horribly wrong when they knock on the wrong door in the wrong neighborhood. Run! Bitch Run! is a throw back to the classic 1970's Rape and Revenge films like 'Last House On the Left' and 'Ms. 45'.

FILM: I've seen a lot of films come along that advertise themselves as throwbacks to the seedy 70's grindhouse and exploitation films with taglines incorporating phrases like "in the tradition of..." or "soon to be cult classic" to know they're mostly full o' shit. These hollow slogans are nifty selling points but rarely do the films live up to the hype or essence of the iconic genre films they namedrop. That said RUN! BITCH RUN! is a true spirited throwback to the straight-faced rape revenge grinders from the 70's like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) - it's sleazy stuff that's hard to watch but quite entertaining if you have the stomach for it.

Catherine (Cheryl Lyone) and Rebecca (Christina DeRosa) are two super-sexy Catholic school girls that are selling bibles door-to-door. They find themselves in the town of Mosely - a true shit-hole that's home to a few cranky-bitches, a junkyard and a cathouse run by a slimy drug dealing pimp named Lobo who hangs with a stuttering side-kick named Clint and a crazy bitch named Marla. The girls have picked a bad day to interrupt the goings-on at the cathouse. Inside Clint is getting busy while watching a nun-sploitation nudie-film called NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS, Marla's in the shitter violently masturbating with wooden toilet plunger handle (Ouch! Slivers?) and Lobo has just blasted one his whores for swiping his heroin. As you might expect the trio aren't willing to let the girls leave. This is really when the elements from LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT come into play -  the sadistic male leader, the weak willed scummy sidekick and a sex-depraved bitch holding two young women hostage who are made to perform vile sex acts, pretty familiar territory. There's a true excess of nudity and demeaning sex acts here and it's all rather repulsive stuff. This is pure 100% rape revenge exploitation down to the acts of forced fellatio, rape, degradation and that old chestnut - necrophilia - not for the squeamish or easily offended because it is offensive. We also get some definite Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez flavors. The soundtrack recalls the GRINDHOUSE main title theme, it's pretty swanky stuff with a deep throbbing base and tasty desert rock riffing and a toe-sucking scene that would do Tarantino's foot fetish proud. Beaten, raped and debased Catherine is left for dead in the wilderness after a nasty game of hide n' fuck that is pure I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE homage. She limps her way through the forest and collapses along a road where she is discovered by a passerby. In a scene that strongly recalls KILL BILL Catherine wakens in a hospital room and dons a nurse's uniform and begins her methodical bloody streak of vengeance against those that have defiled her.

What worked? Pretty much everything for me. Sure, it's derivative of the aforementioned genre rape/revenge classic, very much so, but the acting is good all around, it hits all the right notes and it has some decent cinematography which both Last House and I Spit lacked. It's a bit of a greatest hits and that fine by me. What didn't work? As depraved as the film is it seemed to shy away from the violence. There's not much gore here and I think the gorehounds will be disappointed as the headshots and shotgun blasts occur just off screen. This is probably a budgetary in nature and I can abide it. Some will take issue with it's derivative nature but as stated before it's a non-issue for me.

DVD: RUN! BITCH RUN! comes to DVD from VICIOUS CIRCLE FILMS. The film is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack. No subtitles option available. The film looks great, it's gritty and low-budget but looks awesome and well-shot, great stuff. The 2.0 soundtrack handles the soundtrack well including the sweet-ass film score. Tons of special features included none of which I can comment on
as I was sent bare-bones screener (sigh).

 Special Features:
- RUN! BITCH RUN! Original Trailer
- Sluts on Parade Magazine Spread Photo Gallery
- RUN! BITCH RUN! Screenplay (DVD-ROM Content only)

VERDICT: RUN! BITCH RUN! is a nasty bit o' grindhouse sleaze. It's offensive, it's derivative and it's entertaining. A fine-tuned homage to the exploitation classics that came before and a hell of a debut from director Joseph Guzman.  ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)