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  Kill For Me Strangers on a Train with girl on girl action
Year: 2012
Director: David Greenspan
Stars: Katie Cassidy, Tracy Spiridakos, Donal Logue, Adam DiMarco, Shannon Chan-Kent, Torrance Coombs, Chelah Horsdal, Ryan Robbins, Colin Lawrence, Leah Gibson, Andrew Zachar, Graham Croft, Joanne Wilson, Crystal Mudry
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Some time after a college roommate goes missing, Amanda (Katie Cassidy) reluctantly agrees to rent the vacant room to the troubled Hayley (Tracy Spiridakos), whom she discovers has fled an abusive father (Donal Logue). Amanda is herself being stalked by an obsessive ex-boyfriend, Cameron (Torrance Coombs) whom she suspects may have murdered her missing friend, Natalie (Leah Gibson). After Hayley rescues Amanda from one violent confrontation the pair begin a sexual relationship. She intervenes again when Cameron pulls a gun on Amanda and this time plants an axe in his back. But after burying his body in the woods, Hayley insists Amanda pay back the favour by killing her father.

Kill For Me puts an interesting feminist spin on the admittedly well-worn plot of Strangers on a Train (1951). Besides exploring the co-dependent relationship between two victims of domestic abuse, the film also stirs in a lipstick lesbian twist that although likely to delight fans of beautiful TV stars Katie Cassidy and Tracy Spiridakos, of cult shows Arrow and Revolution respectively, does actually add a tender emotional spine to ensuing events. A taut pace coupled with strong performances from the two leads (Cassidy is something of a horror veteran with remakes of both Black Christmas (2006) and When a Stranger Calls (2006) on her resume along with slasher TV series Harper’s Island) elevate this way above the average DTV thriller. Although anyone familiar with Single White Female (1992) or more recently The Roommate (2011) may think they know where this is heading, co-writer/director David Greenspan - whose last film was the Adrien Brody stranded-in-the-woods drama Wrecked (2010) - throws some welcome twists that draw the plot in some compelling directions. His accomplished direction creates a palpable aura of unease, shifting between physical menace and moral jeopardy along with a note of erotic tension. Greenspan also shoots the violence from a distance, freeing this nevertheless gripping thriller from the usual bugbears of sadism and misogyny.

After the psychological realism of the first half it is disheartening when Hayley reverts to standard movie psycho behaviour. In order to further motivate Amanda she kidnaps and tortures her best friend, Mark (Adam DiMarco in a role that in any other thriller would be played by an actress, which is another refreshing break from the norm), before progressing to sneers and rants in the tradition of Jennifer Jason Leigh. A more subtle, emotionally layered approach would have been both more persuasive and in keeping with the co-dependent relationship established in the first act. However, the movie redeems itself with a stellar final third wherein Greenspan mounts Amanda’s attempted seduction-murder of Hayley’s dad in an especially suspenseful sequence. He quite masterfully toys with our expectations and allegiances leading to a finale that is darkly poetic, emotionally draining and dramatically satisfying. Hitchcock may well have approved, girl on girl action and all.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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