Review: The whore

Rape. Revenge. Blood. Violence. Sex. Naked ladies. Mutilation. Things you can occasionally find in Norwegian movies, but never all these things in the same film! Until The whore, that is, Norway’s first grindhouse exploitation film ever.

It took until the year 2009 for Norway to produce its first official exploitation film. Perhaps there were no-budget short underground films in the genre before, but Reinert Kiil’s The whore was feature length, cost a bit of money, got some media attention, and attracted an audience. It even got parodied in a TV sitcom created by one of Norway’s most famous comedians. The whore is by all accounts Norway’s first rape-revenge grindhouse film, even though it never got the government money that “serious films” get, and even though it went straight to DVD. Perhaps it did not deserve any tax payer support or valuable theatrical time, but it is still a “fun” and interesting movie that deserves credit for more than being the first in a genre.

The story is pretty simple; Rikke has hired a small cabin in the countryside in order to finish her book. She decides to stay there alone, but attracts the attention of some local guys who – no surprise – cannot control themselves and violently rapes her. Revenge is of course needed, and death follows rapidly.

Rape is never fun and the object of good rape-revenge films must be to make the viewers uncomfortable. This is something The whore succeeds in. The rapists are disturbed people and the sexual violence is never attractive, although it is a strong point that during the build-up, viewers are left in a position where they are looking forward to the rape that they know is coming. That raises some questions, not only about rape-revenge movies as entertainment but also about the male psyche. Should we not fear what is coming, in stead of desire it? We are brutally reminded about how perverted some minds can be when all we care about is reaching the awful climax. This means that The whore is not just violent entertainment, and not just about the typical “strong woman taking things in her own hands” but also raising concers about some of the worst corners of men’s minds; the lust for violence, power and unhealthy domination. I am pretty sure the hardcore feminists of the organization OTTAR will never use this film for educational purposes though.

Aside from that, The whore features enough non-sexual violence, gore and special effects to support a night of beer and buddies. The highlight is the very slow but brutal killing of a police officer, who suffers a variety of wounds and pains until he is liberated from his miserable life. Violence can be very creative, and that is shown here for the first time in a Norwegian film. While the movie itself does not break any new ground in international terms, it confirms that there is a place for this kind of entertainment, done with great creativity and skills (and little money), in a film industry that never got to do these things.

Directed by Reinert Kiil.

Rated 8 of 10.

Norway, 2009.

Advertisements