Movies

PERPETRATOR (2023) Reviews of feminist horror – soon on Shudder

PERPETRATOR (2023) Reviews of feminist horror – soon on Shudder

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Perpetrator is a 2023 American supernatural horror film about a teenage girl with special powers called ‘forevering’.

Written and directed by Jennifer Reeder (Night’s End; V/H/S/94 ‘Holy Hell’ segment; Knives and SkinSignature MoveAccidents at Home and How They Happen). Produced by Derek Bishé and Gregory Chambet.

The Divide/Conquer-WTFilms co-production stars Kiah McKirnan (Mare of Easttown), Christopher Lowell (My Best Friend’s Exorcism), Melanie Liburd (The Idol), Ireon Roach (Candyman (2021)), Alicia Silverstone (Clueless), Avery Holliday, Casimere Jollette (Tiny Pretty Things), Sasha Kuznetsov, Melanie Liburd, Kiah McKirnan, Ilirida Memedovski, Ireon Roach and Greta Stolte.

Plot:
Jonny Baptiste (Kiah McKirnan) is a reckless teen sent to live with her estranged Aunt Hildie (Alicia Silverstone).

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On the event of her eighteenth birthday, she experiences a radical metamorphosis: a family spell that redefines her called ‘forevering’. When several teen girls go missing at her new school, a mythically feral Jonny goes after the Perpetrator…

Reviews:

Perpetrator vaguely recalls the aesthetics of B-movies, typical of some American horror films of the eighties, revised and interpreted in a feminist and queer key. Reeder thus uses many characteristic elements of his previous films and the whole film is a continuous drip of blood, from the nose or mouth; wounds abound, bloodstains that spread, even bubble, of a dense red. There is no shortage of fingers that erotically penetrate and sink into these bleeding openings…” Close-Up [translated from Italian]

“The purpose is obvious and we understand all in all what the director wants to express loud and clear. However, if the hubbub surrounding the feminist message had been toned down somewhat, it would have had more impact. The story would also have worked out better had it been backed up by skilled acting.” 2 out of 5, Horreur Quebec [translated from French]

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“Lit in Bava-esque colours, dripping with sexual frankness and surreal humour, and filled with characters whose bleeding or bandages are signifiers of a deeper collective trauma, Perpetrator assumes the mask of a slasher/superhero film to expose a patriarchal system that feeds on the exploitation of women […] Funny, freaky and full of feeling, Reeder’s genrefied feminist flick is a big deal.” Sight and Sound

Perpetrator exists in a world where you can have blood and guts but not necessarily be scary. Instead, there is humor, often in the form of awkward moments […] A lot in Perpetrator is established but not dove into. There is the establishment of certain people having powers, the kidnapper focusing only on girls and potentially it being for body parts.” 76% Wherever I Look

Release:
Perpetrator had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2023, and was also shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. The movie will be available for streaming on Shudder from September 1, 2023.

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Trailer:

Clip:

Cast and characters:
Kiah McKirnan … Jonny Baptiste
Alicia Silverstone … Aunt Hildie
Avery Holliday … Poppy
Casimere Jollette … Aviva
Sasha Kuznetsov … Kirk
Melanie Liburd … Jean
Ilirida Memedovski … Avalon
Ireon Roach … Elektra
Greta Stolte … Darby
Josh Bywater … Sterling
Christopher Lowell … Principal Burke

Filming locations:
Chicago, Illinois

Technical specs:
1 hour 40 minutes

More Jennifer Reeder movies:

NIGHT’S END (2022) Reviews and “Something happened” clip

V/H/S/94 (2021) Reviews plus Blu-ray, DVD, On-Demand and Digital release news

KNIVES AND SKIN (2019) Reviews and overview

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