Autonomy Pictures brings Adam Rehmeier’s controversial debut film to Blu-Ray... and kills my soul at the same time.
The Film- Down on her luck prostitute Sylvia Grey did a little too much coke before picking up her last john. She passes out halfway through, and he pulls the ‘ol Grand Theft Auto “get your money back” trick while she’s clunked. When she wakes up, almost everything she had worth anything (mainly some coke and money) has been looted. Broken, with only a small bump of powder and a few articles of clothing to her name, she sets off.
Soon she meets JR, a semi truck driver who offers her a ride. They kill the last of the coke, and he fucking snaps- choking her with a chloroform rag and driving miles off the highway into a barren desert. JR locks her in the back of the trailer, strips her nude, and sets up a video camera to record her agony. Over the course of the next few days, he shaves her head and subjects her to extreme physical, mental, and sexual abuse. On their last day in the desert, JR straps a white leather bunny mask to Sylvia and slips into his leather hog mask. The final torture left is the “Bunny Game”.
Inspired by an event that happened to lead actress Rodleen Getsic,
The Bunny Game is- fuck this. This is not a movie I could even hope to review traditionally. Any of my readers notice the almost month-long gap between this review and Life and Death of a Porno Gang? Yeah, well that’s because I could only get the top two paragraphs written. And that’s not because of some kind of writers block, it’s because my opinions on this movie are impossible to transcribe into words.
There is no plot whatsoever. Woman is kidnapped and tortured by a crazy truck driver, and there are some snippets of home video footage of his last victim thrown in there to boot. End. It’s not the plot that makes this movie, it’s the execution- namely the acting, directing, and how the torture is shown to the audience. This is disturbing on the most basic way imaginable. No blood and gore and dismemberments here, just one person breaking the body and soul of another. And guess what? It’s FUCKING REAL!
Yep, all those extended scenes of complete degradation, torture, and abuse- real. Now that might not sound like the most disturbing thing out there, but when you watch two people branded with a hot iron, and their “acting” is the physical response to getting a scar burnt to their flesh, that’s fucking powerful. It’s like an hour and a half of the dinner scene from Texas Chainsaw. And none of this is mentioned in the film, so don’t go into it expecting a “shill out shock with no plot” movie based on the fact the torture is real. I found this out when watching the making of featurette.
As soon as the credits began to roll, I knew this was going to be one of the hardest reviews I even squeezed out. I can tell you what happens, and I can tell you the power the film has, but I can’t let you experience it. That’s where The Bunny Game is different than almost every other film. Seeing Jeff Renfro (JR) turning into a maniacal, frenzied beast with only the intent of torturing “Bunny” is not enjoyable or entertaining, but the audience latches onto the power and brutality of the show. That is what makes The Bunny Game so dangerous.
How can I sit here and write what that feels like? I can’t, I can just hope to persuade you to see The Bunny Game. This is not a film that will be accepted by anyone other than a pure cinematic masochist. Without using the conventional “super-gore disturbing movie” formula, Rehmeier has taken things to a new level. This is as close to a snuff film as you’re likely to get in today’s society. Actually, I think this is much worse than a snuff film, because the participants are willing to act out and endure everything.
The “acting” is top notch, the editing is a sporadic, visceral, in your face style that adds tremendously, and by the end, you feel as close to the way “Bunny” does that you’ll ever want to. This is a great example of minimalist horror, which boils down to simple evil. You will experience something evil, I promise you. When it comes to disturbing, seeing a woman reduced to a gibbering shell by a complete and total sadist beats any chainsaw mutilation I can think of. This is bleak, hurtful cinema right here people, void of any humanity whatsoever.
The Package- The stark black and white picture looks fantastic. There’s minimal pixelation during darker scenes, details pop, and the entire transfer looks crisp. There are a few places where the black tends to get a little patchy (mainly when someone’s face is obstructed by shadow in a brightly lit area), but nothing that takes away from the film.
The audio track is clear and balanced, and with sounds ranging from whimpering to pig-snorting to yelling-like-a-fucking-madman, that’s pretty impressive, actually.
The animated main menu leads to the chapters and extras menus, all with a “VCR” font. The pop-up menu works during all playback options including bonus features. It’s also worth noting the menu transitions into either a frame of Sylvia blowing a guy near a dumpster or pissing on the ground respectively, so the overall vibe is present even in the disk structure.
The two big features are an audio commentary with Rehmeier and Getsic, and a 20 minute making of retrospective, which is one of the most intense and gripping I’ve seen in a long time. The disk rounds out with a gallery and two trailers, which are also very well put together.
Order from Autonomy Pictures.