4 March 2005 | lazarillo
Respectable low-budget effort
This may be a spurious comparison, but this reminded me of the bigger-budgeted movie "The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea" which was released about the same time. Sure the latter is a serious drama while this is a low-budget (Italian?)exploitation movie, but they both share an eerily haunting seaside location and have a truly shocking ending. I can't say I enjoyed this movie in the sense that I would like to see it again anytime soon (most men will find it pretty, uh, painful), but I can't help respecting it. It's not your usual exploitation film. It is somewhat similar to the rape-revenge films that were big in the 70's (the epitome of which was the truly execrable "I Spit on Your Grave"). Unlike that movie and its ilk, however, this film does not relish in the rape and humiliation of its barmaid female protagonist (played by Millie Perkins). And her character is portrayed as a disturbed but always believable human being as opposed to a murdering/castrating automaton. And rather than portraying all men as jerks or potential rapists, it has a likable male character in her older bartender boyfriend, "Long John".
It takes a brave film to contain the extreme, potentially off-putting elements this one does, but also not take the easy, well-trodden exploitation route (one of the most ridiculous criticisms leveled at this film, for instance, is that there is not literally a witch in it). This movie certainly does wallow in grubby exploitation scenes, but at times it transcends all that and becomes something more haunting and lyrical that will stay with you long after you watch it.