Dead Hooker in a Trunk (Jen and Sylvia Soska): Movie Review

Dead Hooker in A Trunk
by Jason Lees, MoreHorror.com

Some movies start off slow to lure you in, while some just take their time to find their pace. Others, like “Dead Hooker in a Trunk,” just don’t care about a slow beginning because it knows that in about 30 minutes it’s going to own your soul.

Dead Hooker in a Trunk is about this dead hooker in a trunk. Sort of. We open with two sisters (the multi titled writer/director/star/producing duo of the Soska Twins, Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska) and a few friends who are just going about their day when they get an odd whiff of something coming from the back of their car. From there, we get drugs, violence, loud LOUD music, and enough cursing to make Quentin Tarantino ears blush. The set up is a bit forced, but looking back at the film now, I’m pretty damn sure it was the Twins psyching the audience out. I think they knew their audience would be expecting something with a title like that so they kept their cards close their chest, so when they flash their hand, damn, it’s shocking.

Yes, the first half hour or so had me wondering what I was in for, with its loopy logic and less than waterproof plotting, but then we get this apartment invasion scene and damn it, it made me a fan in a big way. From that moment to its finale, “Dead Hooker in a Trunk” was calling the shots. Anything it wanted to show me, I’d believe. Someone loses an arm? Yea, I bet they’ll be okay. Someone gets nearly ripped in half? Of course I’ll buy them being fine in the next scene. This may be the Soskas debut feature, but they know how to handle an audience. They lead us through the story and take us right where they want us to go.

“Dead…” isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s a true grindhouse movie. Its flavor is as far from the mainstream as you can get. It’s fun, mean, and ugly, but not mean spirited. And by ‘ugly’, I don’t mean the way it’s shot. I mean its impact and its violence isn’t the action norm. It’s brutal and fierce, and not meant to be cheered. You’ll be worried about these characters, which, at least for me, was a big surprise.

With a low budget indy flick, you tend to be more forgiving in its technical execution, but that’s not really the case here. Yes, we’re talking low budget, but I’ll be damned if I can find any fault in the way it was shot or put together. Here we’re treated to some of the most restrained yet effective handheld camerawork ever. It comes across as almost cinema verite in that the camera becomes another character without going to the cliché of being a fake documentary. We see the twins’ world through this invisible fifth friend, but never have to worry about any kind of rigid format. This adds to the confident feel of the feel, the sense that we’re on a ride for our lives, but that we’re not the ones in control. A fake documentary set up has to make the viewer feel like they’re home watching some found footage, here it’s different. With DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK you feel like you’re there, in that car, in that trunk.

Dead Hooker

It’s a movie marketing expression to say that every dollar winds up on the screen, that nothing is wasted and the film speaks for itself. Here, the Soskas and crew (all of whom need to be applauded, check the credits to see just how much of a team project this must have been)did better than just stretch the dollar. There’s more on screen than they could have possibly been able to afford. The resulting synergy of mixing every resource at their disposal with some serious filmmaking chops makes “Dead Hooker in a Truck” the biggest surprise and most satisfying movie I’ve seen so far this year.

If you’re a fan of grindhouse F U to Hollywood cinema, don’t miss it. Don’t over analyze, don’t question, just sit back and let the chainsaws and baseball bats do their thing. Who needs health insurance when you’ve got electrical tape? And pray that we don’t have to wait too long for the next Twisted Twins Production's (American Mary). Batshit crazy at its best.

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