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Straightheads (2007)

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Plot Summary:
"This taut and truly violent thriller sees a middle-class woman and a security man who after ravaging in an explosive night of passion head off to a posh party in the highlands, however on the way they encounter a connection of violent gun holders who beat him and horrifically gang-rape her. After surviving this terrifying encounter, the traumatized couple decide to take revenge on the mob. After coming to terms with what happened, the couple manage to get hold of a rifle, and as the sun goes down a truly harrowing blood bath unfolds as the revenge stricken pair unleash their deadly revenge."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 14 December 2009 My Rating: out of 5


Businesswoman/socialite Gillian Anderson, flirting with her much younger surveillance tech installer Danny Dyer, takes him to a swank party, which they leave for a quick shag. On their way home they nearly get into an altercation with another vehicle, with Dyer yelling some obscenities and such. Not such a smart idea, dude. The vehicle returns and before long heís beaten and sheís raped. The attack leaves Dyer feeling totally emasculated, whilst Anderson tries to just shut it all out and return to work. But a chance meeting with someone she recognises as one of the attackers (Ralph Brown, the dim Ď85í from the underrated ďAlien 3Ē), gives Anderson an idea for revenge, and Dyer agrees to go along with the plans. But what will these two lose in the process? Have they already become shells of their former selves?

The rape-revenge/vigilante thriller is one of my least favourite genres, but this somewhat controversial film from debut writer-director Dan Reed has some genuine merit for those who can take it. Unfortunately it also falls apart in the same way that most of these films do, failing to make a plausible transition from normal citizen to vigilante/aggressor. Itís done way too swiftly to convince here, unfortunately. Anderson (usually a cold fish) is quite good and for the first time in her career, genuinely sexy and a strong screen presence.

The film offers up very interesting, complex characterisations by Dyer and Brown, that whilst not appealing (nor is the film), were certainly commendable. The relationship between Dyer and Anderson is pretty implausible in its set-up, but gets really fascinating after a while, and Dyerís emotionally scarred, slightly seedy character is really interesting (His characterís behaviour is easily the most credible in the film). Even the rapists in the film are given more depth than is usual, or at least a couple of them. The film also deserves credit for showing vigilantism as ugly, senseless, and psychologically damaging.

If the character transitions hadíve been more plausible and a few other minor annoyances been fixed, Iíd have been able to recommend this film. As is, itís a near-miss, but far from worthless.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 09 August 2007 My Rating: out of 5

Gillian Anderson and Danny Dyer star in this Brit flick about a posh bird, Alice (Anderson) and her bit of rough lover Adam (Dyer) who are attacked in the middle of the woods after a swanky party. Adam is viciously beaten and left for dead and Alice is brutally raped. A few weeks later, Alice inadvertently discovers where one of her attackers lives, and puts in motion a horrifying plan for revenge.

Straightheads has been described as violent, savage, brutal and a whole host of other things (which it is), but itís not the most shocking film I have ever seen. The rape scenes are not salacious or excessively graphic, as you get the feeling director Dan Reed was very concerned with Gillian Andersonís well-being. As for the revenge scenes, they too are not as brutal as I was expecting. This is because Reed holds back on excessively violent imagery, instead opting to make you queasy at the thought of what is happening without needing to see it.

Anderson is very good, as is Ralph Brown who plays one of her attackers, but sadly, Dyer is a bit unintentionally comical here. This is perhaps due to the radical shift his character goes through towards the end. He is led by Anderson throughout and is very against taking revenge, but the power goes to his head and suddenly Alice wants no part in it, just as Adam comes round to the idea.

Straightheads is essentially Straw Dogs version 2.0 but it is still a tense 80 minutes.

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