More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look100%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 0 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Kajillionaire by Peter Sobczynski

Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold by Jack Sommersby

12 Hour Shift by Jay Seaver

Firewalker by Jack Sommersby

Death Wish V: The Face of Death by Jack Sommersby

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment by Jack Sommersby

Vibes by Jack Sommersby

White of the Eye by Jack Sommersby

Chasing Dream by Jay Seaver

Airplane II: The Sequel by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Dead Hooker in a Trunk
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"More than what it says on the tin."
4 stars

Occasionally you get someone who starts out in the realm of no-budget grindhouse-type fare but is too good for it. David Cronenberg was one. His young fellow Canadians Jen and Sylvia Soska, twin sisters whose gory calling card is "Dead Hooker in a Trunk," may be two others.

The Soska Sisters started Dead Hooker in a Trunk as the kind of fake trailer that appeared in Grindhouse specifically one that didn't, but won the Grindhouse trailer contest, Jason Eisener's terrific Hobo with a Shotgun. The story does indeed involve a car trunk containing one (1) dead hooker. But the end result is driftier and trippier than your typical wannabe-grindhouse fare. The movie is surprisingly meditative and becalmed at times; at other times, of course, blood splatters and intestines are pulled out and played with.

At all times, the movie feels uncompromising. I'm sure the Soska Sisters could regale you all day with anecdotes about shots and scenes they wanted to get but didn't have the budget for, but what's on the screen feels unmediated, exactly what they set out to put there. There's an essential female playfulness throughout. Some unimaginative studio head might have said "Why the hell are you playing Vancouver mope rock under a torture scene?", but it works chillingly well. Tonally, the film is of a piece, part Gregg Araki, part Sarah Jacobson, Ginger Snaps meets Very Bad Things, morosely defiant but with a streak of generosity that belies the Soska Sisters' too-sick-for-you pose. Like their hero Eli Roth, they come on like nihilists but have a strong sense of fairness and kindness.

The sisters also star onscreen as polar-opposite sibs Geek (Jen) and Badass (Sylvia). With Geek's dorkily religious friend Goody Two Shoes (CJ Wallis) and Badass' band-fronting buddy Junkie (Rikki Gagne) in tow, they discover the titular corpse and spend much of the movie figuring out what to do with it. There's also a hoodie-wearing serial killer going around knocking off prostitutes, and a drug dealer who picks the wrong time to open his door, and a character called Cowboy Pimp. Most often the violence is realistic, with one large exception involving a character who loses and regains an arm but never seems much the worse for wear. Stuff like that gives the impression that the Soska Sisters will disregard realism when they want to. If it gets in the way of whatever cool scene they want to put together, fuck it.

Dead Hooker in a Trunk isn't especially plot-centered; it shuffles between weird quietude and riot-grrl thrill kills. Past a certain point, you're watching a riff, but there's no irony in it, and I don't think the Soska Sisters share the "whatever" attitude of some of their characters. Goody Two Shoes may be a dweeb and Geek may be self-destructively trusting of authority, but they're the movie's moral center. (Yes, Dead Hooker in a Trunk has a moral center.) The stunts, supervised and performed by more professionals than you'd usually see in a film of this scale, give the action a feral lift. When people get punched and roughed up, it looks like it hurts. A flashback showing exactly how the dead hooker got that way, and who made her dead, has Bizet's "Carmen Suite No. 2 Habanera" running blithely underneath it, a loping aural beauty in contrast to the ugly percussion of baseball bat against skull. Oftentimes indie filmmakers will lay classical music under ultraviolence for that easy Kubrick flavor, but it feels different here, sadder.

To return to my earlier point: I think the Soska Sisters will ultimately prove to be better than this material. Not that the material isn't fun. But I note an artistic sensibility that will, with the proper financial nurturing, expand beyond the grindhouse. They obviously love gore-horror and action and girls who kick ass. And that may be what they genuinely want to do for a while; they're still young and in love with the heady thrill of getting to film all the violently cool stuff they grew up smitten with. But when and if they want to do something else and I'm definitely not talking about rom-coms here I don't see anything getting in their way.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/24/10 13:50:06
[printer] printer-friendly format  

Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  DVD: 31-Jan-2012


  DVD: 31-Jan-2012

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Jen Soska
  Sylvia Soska

Written by
  Jen Soska
  Sylvia Soska

  Rikki Gagne
  Jen Soska
  Sylvia Soska
  C.J. Wallis
  Carlos Gallardo

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast