The Reel Review
Two somewhat estranged sisters bring their partners to a remote weekend getaway at their family’s secluded cabin in the Canadian wilderness. After a few cocktails, tensions emerge, and an inappropriate sexual incident takes place, prompting an accusation of rape and counter accusations of lying. The big blowout prompts a violent and gruesome act of revenge, in this horror film on Shudder.
Shocking doesn’t even begin to describe this film from writer/directors Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli, which also stars Sims-Fewer as our protagonist. And we’re not just talking about the full frontal male nudity. (And there’s quite a bit.) The film tackles the controversial topic of rape allegations and believability, with a performance from Sims-Fewer that makes Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-nominated performance in Promising Young Woman look like a family-friendly, Disney fantasy. It is exceptionally dark and deeply disturbing. There is a LOT of gore – and a bone saw. This film is not for the squeamish.
As a film, much of Violation is technically well done, with a chilling score, creative production techniques and cinematography. Its directors do an exceptional job of capturing the murkiness of the initial sexual incident. But they also saddle their controversial and wildly-divisive film with a barrage of time jumps, which, instead of leading to a big shocking reveal in the finalé, instead makes the story exasperatingly confusing. For a film seemingly intent on subverting the rape-revenge tropes of gratuitous violence, Violation jumps right into them headfirst, giving us yet another schlocky shockfest, albeit an artsy looking one. Some will love the incredibly unsettling and thought-provoking Violation. Most will loathe it.
•Madeleine Sims-Fewer says she really threw up during THAT scene.
• Violation is the first feature film collaboration between Madeline Sims-Fewer and Dusty Manchinelli, who have worked together on several short films.
• Violation was filmed in Canada.