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Review: Bad Reputation

makethumbReview: Bad Reputation. 2007. Maverick Entertainment.
By Brian Kirst

(In honor of Horror Society’s upcoming Women in Horror event.)

We all love Jason, Michael, Freddy and Chucky! Must of us, hopefully, have never been able to, emotionally, relate to them, though. (And our many mothers thank us for that!) All of us can, perhaps, understand the artistic and abused (and ultimately murderous) Michelle in Jim Hemphill’s potent slasher Bad Reputation, though. And while this sensitive horror film has its share of awkward moments and overage actors spouting high school jargon – overall it is very effective and passionately done.

Much credit for this film’s success is due to Angelique Hennessy’s quietly powerful portrayal of Michelle. After being brutally raped and humiliated at a high school jock’s house party, Michelle finds herself being further debased as vengeance minded classmates continue their assault on her in the school’s hallways. Michelle’s drunken, bitter mother and a perverted school official are no help – so Michelle takes matters into her own blood soaked hands.

Hemphill’s murder scenes are messily creative (taking some cues from Heathers and I Spit on Your Grave) and Hennessy relishes in her chance to enact Michelle’s rage filled destructiveness. Despite her psychotic streak, Hennessy makes Michelle so understandable that, much like Camille Keaton’s character in I Spit On Your Grave, you want to see her to survive to kill more bastards, find love and hopefully one day heal.

Hennessy is well met by Jerad Anderson’s surprisingly cold blooded portrayal of her most savage attacker. In fact, Anderson is so realistically smarmy that you find yourself wishing that his death scene was even nastier than it was.