The Bunny Game (2010) movie review
Written by: Adam Rehmeier, Rodleen Getsic
Cast: Rodleen Getsic, Jeff F. Renfro, Drettie Page
Runtime: 76 min.
It is truly amazing when at the end of a screening for a film to be left with my jaw slack, nodding my head slowly back and forth in a state of awe. There are moments in some extreme horror films when you forget that what you are watching is not real like the scene of sexual torture in Salo and the snuff film footage in Emanuelle in America. Then there are films which contain actual violence like the turtle killing in Cannibal Holocaust and the rodent death in Make Them Die Slowly. Scenes which are designed to convince the viewer that the later scenes of human atrocity may actually be real as well, but are inevitably always fake. Special effects. Movie magic. What if every depraved, torturous act portrayed in a film is real shown exactly as it occurred without any edits/added artificial effects? Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the most disturbing film this reviewer of the macabre has ever seen; The Bunny Game.
Like a rogue wave which strikes out of nowhere, the film starts with a graphic visualization of the daily work life of a drug addled prostitute hooking for a fix. A parade of Johns puts her through the increasingly degrading paces of sexual servitude. A soul corroding process which nearly breaks her as she sobs in a shower after her last trick robbed her of the few remaining valuables she possesses. Determined to push on, the nameless hooker jumps back into the hustle and accepts a ride from a trucker who is anything but the usual horny customer that she is used to dealing with. This anonymous trucker is every whore’s ultimate fear; the harbinger of pain and suffering and maybe even death.
The Bunny Game is the rare film which you experience rather than merely watch. Except for the drug abuse, everything that happens to the women in the film is real. Both actresses Rodleen Getsic and Drettie Page are actually branded in the film and have the scars to prove it. Both women are repeatedly abused and degraded in the film to the point where the line between art and reality becomes a massive blur. The sadistic trucker, played with unhinged wickedness by Jeff F. Renfro, is the most realistic portrayal of a sexual psychopath in the throes of prurient sexual ecstasy I have ever witnessed. Renfro indulges all five senses during his torture sessions with his victims in a genuinely animalistic manner that is both eye bulging and terrifyingly truthful. I cannot imagine the psychic toll this role took on him as a person let alone an actor. However during the Q & A after the screening at the Pollygrind Film Festival which I attended, Rodleen Getsic did mention toward the end of shooting the acts of sexualized deviance did start to eat away at Mr. Renfro. The film is based upon the actual life experiences (including a terrifying abduction) of lead actress and co-writer Rodleen Getsic. The film is an attempt to heal old, jagged scars through tearing them open and exploring the black mold which permeates every crevice of the slimy, horrific edifice of real life horror. Rodleen bares her soul in this film and despite its total dark nature you come away feeling as if something greater is achieved through its creation.
Director Adam Rehmeier infuses his film with gorgeous imagery. Shot in black and white, the film utilizes scenes of sun bright light and absolute darkness in a starkly effective manner. The composition of select scenes is of such a high quality that the stills could be printed in a Taschen art book. The audio design is another great accomplishment of the film because of its complex layering in essentially every scene. Fearless filmmaker Adam Rehmeier is equally blessed with a fearless co-writer and lead actress Rodleen Getsic and mesmerizing lead actor Jeff F. Renfro. This trifecta of outsider artists has crafted a severe sculpture of cinematic art which explores the blackest realms of human and spiritual evil.