The Horror Honeys: Girls Against Boys, Until It’s Girls Against Girls Like Always

Girls Against Boys, Until It’s Girls Against Girls Like Always

A Revenge Honey Review

Since some of the other Honeys have shared the backgrounds that lead them to their particular genre, I figured it was my turn to do the same with this week’s review. I didn’t end up the Revenge Honey because my life has been all sunshine and kittens and unicorn farts (they fart rainbows right? That’s what I always assumed.) I have always gravitated to revenge films because I understand what it means to crave it. When I was 14, I was sexually assaulted in the woods while on a youth group trip with my mom’s church. I didn’t tell anyone until I was older, but suffice to say, that was the end of my relationship with church stuff, but the start of a relationship with revenge films. I never found justice, so I started seeking it in films, televisions shows, and books. 

As an adult survivor of childhood rape, you live with a certain disconnect from the situation. It shapes whom you grow into, but at a certain point, you can no longer allow it to dictate your everyday life. However, there will always be experiences that draw up memories; sometimes it happens at the blink of an eye. For me, it often happens in films I watch. I tried watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and had to turn it off during the rape scene. It was too real and too much. But, I can still watch movies like I Spit On Your Grave and Ms. 45 because of that disconnect: they are real but they are exploitation movie real. It’s a fine line I can’t explain, but it’s that line that lead me to become your Revenge Honey. My history may not be pretty, but I am proud of who I am now and wouldn’t change it because I can’t imagine being anyone different. 

So this history is what leads me to my review this week: Austin Chick’s Girls Against Boys. When I saw the trailer for this movie, which came out in February of 2013, I couldn’t believe it took me this long to hear about it. After Shae (Danielle Panabaker) is raped by some random bar douchebag, her coworker Lu (Nicole LaLiberte) helps her get justice when the cops do nothing to help. (Apparently this a version of New York with no Benson and Stabler. They wouldn’t put up with that bullshit.) The two women go on road-trip of vigilantism, taking out every man even remotely responsible for Shae’s attack. Lu even seduces the cop responsible for initially dismissing Shae and then shoots him the balls. 

Safety first, Ladies!
The kill scenes in Girls Against Boys are definitely not for the squeamish. First, the dirty rapist loses his teeth to a smash from a hand drill. Then… he loses his feet, one by one. But when he begs to be let go, Lu acquiesces and encourages him to leave; she gives him permission to run away. The scene should be disturbing and brutal and gut wrenching but instead, there is something ultimately satisfying about watching this little man squirm. Perhaps it’s all about audience though. 

Seriously, Dead-eyed Redheads are HOT

It has to be said: I love me some dead-eyed redheads. And Lu makes Mickey and Mallory look like Mickey and Minnie. While the body of their first victim lies at their feet, Lu and Shae sit at the dining room table, discussing the health benefits of Captain Crunch. Its an unnerving scene but one that easily sets up that Lu is the real killer at the heart of the operation. Shae may be the one in need of justice, but Lu is just looking for a thrill.
Yeah, we know who's in charge here...

Ahhh, but of course, midway through the movie, the message becomes: one cannot align themselves with sociopathic dead-eyed redheads and expect that there won’t be consequences. So basically, the movie could have been called, Girls Against Boys, Until It’s Girls Against Girls Like Always. At one point I thought that a touching moment of comfort between Shae and Lu was evidence of the director’s understanding of why female relationships are so important; we can be intimate with each other in a way that men won’t be. But oh, how wrong I was. And when Shae is finally forced to dispatch with Lu, she does so in a means so metaphorically obvious that once again (and I’m sorry not sorry to keep harping on this) but it is clear that a dude wrote Girls Against Boys. Seriously. I want women to watch this movie, get back to me, and tell me you don’t roll your eyes. Because I engaged in a Liz Lemon eye roll so epic, I thought my ocular muscles were going to spasm and eject my eyeballs.

Can you hurry up?  I have some sociopathic things to do in the City.

This is the problem inherent with the rape/revenge movie written by a man: they simply don’t know what it is they want from the film. It’s not that we ladies don’t appreciate the fellas standing up for us, but you can’t then turn around and make the movie SUDDENLY about a crazy dead-eyed redhead in “love” with her murder buddy. Because then, you get into the whole subtext about lesbians being crazy and I have to rip you a new one for being a fratboy asshat and I don’t have the energy to keep fighting that fight. The problem with Girls Against Boys is that a new, sweet, gentle boy is introduced 10 minutes from the end (Liam Aiken, who suffers from the Elijah Wood disease of looking like an adult version of his child self but is significantly less creepy) only to set up that Lu is extra super crazy and thus, we are getting into fratboy asshat territory. 

That's the LEAST dead-eyed she was through the whole film.

So here we are, with a first half of a film that totally satisfies every revenge fantasy that any survivor of assault may have had, and a second half of a film that somehow manages to turn around and crap all over what came before. People always complain about the brutality of I Spit On Your Grave but the reality is that maybe it set a standard that is hard for other revenge films to live up to. When 50% of your movie is the attack, and 50% of the movie is the revenge, what else is there? Girls Against Boys had a great premise with two utterly engaging and well-played female leads, but then fell victim to the pervasive male fantasy that all women want to get naked and fuck each other. It’s hard to appreciate any other point Austin Chick may have been trying to make because of that.

Stabby Points: 2 ½ out 5 (because it’s half of a good movie)