22 September 2014 | gavin6942
McNaughton Takes on American International
Framed for the murder of a record company president in 1952 Hollywood, young, aspiring singer Aggie O'Hanlon (Missy Crider) is sentenced to life in prison and tries to adjust to her life behind bars in a hellish women's prison where she is befriended by other "lifer" inmates who help her out when Aggie finds herself marked for murder by an unknown source who thinks she knows more about the murder than she does.
From director John McNaughton, best known for "Henry Portrait of Serial Killer" and "Wild Things", and with one of his regular actors, Tom Towles. This seems far beneath McNaughton, but then, the series seemed far beneath everyone who was involved (Joe Dante, John Milius, Robert Rodriguez).
This was part of the "Rebel Highway" series that was supposed to be edgy updates of 1950s B-films. Most ended up being cheesy and campy rather than edgy, and this is no exception. Of course, much of this is the low budget (not much over one million) and McNaughton was lucky he happened to convince Sam Fuller to write the script -- Fuller was a genre writer whose work dated back to the 1930s. And there is a brief shower scene that would not have slid in the 50s... but the language is surprisingly clean for a prison.
Ione Skye has a decent sized part, and Anne Heche has a small but important role. For those looking for some star power, their interaction might be the highlight of the film. (Oddly, despite her impressive list of credits, Missy Crider does not seem to be considered a star.)