It’s often quite satisfying to see the hero of a story turn the table on a villain. It’s somewhat less satisfying to see them do it within the first few chapters and, as Harvey Dent would say, live long enough to see themselves become the villain. Such a story structure may reap rewards, but it had better have the storytelling muscles to back it up and in that regard, Kevin Schutz’s debut feature could use some steroids.

Rebellious teenager Samantha (Alison Thornton) has the house to herself for the weekend and plans to have a romantic time with girlfriend Amanda (Mya Lowe). But their saucy rendezvous is ruined before it even begins as Amanda and her father are brutally murdered by a mysterious assailant in the film’s opening minutes. Sam is the murderer’s next target, but not an easy one as she is able to get the upper hand and the home invader soon finds the tables turned on him as he wakes up zip-tied to a chair in the basement.

It turns out that this killer is a cop (Nemo Cartwright) who was sexually preying on Amanda and driven to rage when she turned to Samantha instead. Realising that going to the authorities may not work out in her favour, Sam weighs her options as she tries to keep Les under wraps and a drunk classmate (Mauri Momose) and a horny pizza boy (Harrison Houde) out of her hair as the clock ticks to dawn and her mom’s impending arrival home. 

Girl Gone Bad has the ingredients for a decent thriller: strong heroine, manipulative antagonist, colourful supporting characters, and moral dilemmas. Alison Thornton shines as the determined heroine Samantha with standout support from Lowe and Houde in particular. The film makes strong use of its claustrophobic setting and with ace cinematography from James Clarke. 

It’s therefore somewhat puzzling that these elements never quite manage to gel into a satisfying film. After a slick and brutal opening act, the film slows down into a mélange of conflicting tones and tired story beats. Despite Thornton’s winning performance as Samantha, I never quite became fully invested in her story and ended up checking my watch more times than a 90 minute film would usually warrant. It doesn’t help that Cartwright’s Les is a rather weak antagonist, spending most of the movie tied up, tortured, and easily defeated. 

Kevin Schultz has made a decent short film that bears the misfortune of being feature-length. There’s plenty of promise, but a pittance of payoff. Worth checking out for some emerging talent, but just know that the title pretty much sums the movie up.




Girl Gone Bad is now available on Google Play

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *