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Movie Review: Crazy Bitches

Crazy Bitches poster
@MSLauraHall checks out Crazy Bitches for Women In Horror Month...

Crazy Bitches didn’t get the memo that girls can’t have it all. It wants to be a comedy, a slasher and a drama. While it never boasts enough scares, laughs or moving moments to fall into any of these categories, this mongrel of a bitch of a film is surprisingly charming.

This is largely down to Writer/Director Jane Clark and the cool cast of women she has assembled. Clark clearly has a keen understanding of the complexities and camaraderie of female friendships. The question is: why muffle this acute sensibility underneath the trappings and tropes of slasher flick?

The film follows seven former sorority sisters and their gay best friend who are having a reunion at a ranch. The trouble is a killer has decided to crash the party and starts offing the ladies using methods that reflect each woman’s vanity.

Clark apparently wrote the majority of the parts specifically for the actresses playing them and it shows. Crazy Bitches boasts a great central cast featuring some familiar faces from LGBT cinema and TV. The women are actually fun to be around, which is a remarkable quality for a slasher film.

Crazy Bitches imageHowever, like the many slashers before it, Crazy Bitches’ characters aren’t just murdered by a killer, but their development is too. The “killed by their vanity” gimmick is an interesting concept and Clark explores the effects of vanity and image on female friendships. The problem is that in trying to imbue our heroines with fatal flaws, the film undermines their characters, making them cartoonish. They become the smart one, the prissy one, the hippy one. What could have been an interesting exploration of female friendship turns into a morality tale about the dangers of liking conditioner or having a fondness for skin cream.

While horror tropes such as Ouija boards and creepy rednecks are never far away, any actual feelings of terror are missing, presumed dead. The film is essentially long bursts of exposition with the odd murder thrown in. This is a criticism but also a pretty major compliment; Crazy Bitches is one of those rare films that doesn’t just feature, but is primarily concerned with women talking about things other than men. You only need to look at the sausage fest that was this year’s Oscar nominations to know that representing women in film is still a challenge and needs to celebrated and relished when it actually occurs. Crazy Bitches passes the Bechdel Test with flying colours and a big “f*ck you” to the patriarchy, but the lack of significant character development means you never really care about these women. You’d be happy to go for a drink with them, but you’ll have no regrets about leaving the bar early to watch The Walking Dead re-runs in your PJs while they continue dancing on the tables.

Clark clearly knows how to write about women and touches on some interesting ideas along the theme of sisterhood, but the film bends under the weight of its many genres. While there is lots to enjoy within Crazy Bitches, I long for a version with less soapiness, added cynicism and crazy bitch-load more subversion.

Laura Hall

Twitter: @MsLauraHall

Images: IMDb & Horrorbug.com

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