@MsLauraHall goes inside the club...
If you hated the Hostel movies, you will probably hate The Country Club. If you liked the Hostel movies there is a good chance you will hate The Country Club too; while the plot similarities abound, The Country Club somehow manages to be more crass, cartoonish and sexist than Eli Roth’s eponymous oeuvre
The Country Club follows Crystal, a “blogger or something”, as she sets about exposing the Country Club, a shadowy organisation that lets rich men torture girls for the right price.
I say “sets about”, but what I really mean is “rocks up without any forward planning”. Do not expect characters with clear motivations here. In fact, don’t expect characters at all. The two female leads are given little discernible characteristic beyond the fact that one is a bit geeky and the other is pretty.
The most well-drawn character (which isn’t saying much) is Joel, who is the sort of guy who takes the time to enjoy seeing a girl’s “nice landing strip” as she is forcibly undressed. He is just one or a parade of sexist seedy men, whose attitudes are never challenged or explored.
At some points the book feels like the fevered dream of a 4chan user. Take one scene where a girl who is being tortured takes the time to muse on the fact that her attacker has a point about her playing “hard to get”. Did anyone order a slice of internalised misogyny?
In a book where action, exposition and character are about as subtle as a bloody hammer, the gore is as you would expect: inventive and extreme.
What a shame then that the execution feels like someone is reading off a grocery list. As creative as the torture scenes are, horrific acts are reeled off one after the other; they have little impact, a fact only exacerbated by the 2D characters. At best, it’s Tom and Jerry style violence – at worst, it’s boring.
Rather than wincing at the gore, I found myself wincing at some of the inadvertently funny prose. “This trip had been a horrible idea” one character unintentionally deadpans, after being captured by the club. And the “no sh*t Sherlock” award goes to….
Cheesy, pulpy and meandering, The Country Club offended me for all the wrong reasons. While I don’t expect (or frankly want) much depth from my gore, The Country Club’s inconsistencies and injustices are too jarring for one to sit back and enjoy the twisted-ness.