I was just saying to my mother the other day, "You know what I could go for? One of those sexy, witchy, witch-sex movies."
Then I came home, looked in my mailbox, and grinned. Inception Media had heard my utterances on the late-summer wind and sent me a copy of The Forbidden Girl to review.
My pants were never the same.
A late-night rendezvous between Toby, the son of an apparent religious fanatic, and his girlfriend, Katie, goes pretty sour after she shows him the locket that she's wearing around her neck, which attracts some kind of black-smoke demon that comes and takes her away. See, it was really important to Toby's priest pops that Toby remain all chaste and stuff, so obviously sneaking off to see Katie, Kewpie-doll-voice seductress that she is, was a horrendous idea. With Toby's father newly headless and Katie kidnapped, poor Toby goes rather mad from this and spends the next six years in a mental institution while simultaneously and miraculously not aging whatsoever. After fibbing his way through a gab session with his doctor, Toby is released to salvage the rest of his young life. He begins a tutoring job for a very eccentric couple who live in an isolated old mansion, throughout which Toby seems to sense Katie attempting to communicate with him. When Toby meets his student, Laura, who to him appears to be his missing beloved Katie, well, things get real awkward real fast.
The Forbidden Girl is a beautifully photographed film with better-than-average special effects that unfortunately still ends up being kind of a mess. Creepy visuals and impressive set designs promise a story engaging and unique that, though it tries, never manages to be more than almost perfunctory. Tonally, the film is similar to William Malone's Parasomnia, though it shares that film's woes as well - essentially, both are impressively realized dreamscape films that exist solely to show off the interesting and disturbing visuals on display. There's no doubt about it that Till Hastreiter knows how to direct, present a beautiful image, and work within his budget (though the day-for-night shooting needs a little work). For once the acting in a low budget horror film isn't entirely deplorable. Our lead (Peter Gadiot) is earnest and likable, and his strange new employer is suitably a big creep. But again, both seem committed to a story that never quite established what it wants to be. Horror? Whimsical fantasy? Teen love? (Gross.)
Never would I accuse The Forbidden Girl of being artistically hollow, as there is a genuine attempt to present a story as engaging as the visuals are compelling, but the script never manages to be more than this thing that ultimately ends up getting in the way of the next creepy or stunning set-piece.
It hits video tomorrow.
It hits video tomorrow.