Review: ‘Defenceless: A Blood Symphony’

"Defenseless: A Blood Symphony" reprises the boilerplate brutal-female-abuse/brutal-female-revenge scenario of exploitation classics like "I Spit on Your Grave." There's a DVD audience for this kind of envelope-pushing "extreme cinema," but even aficionados are likely to find this wannabe shocker more stupid than disturbing.

More like a bloody dirge played by a kazoo orchestra, “Defenseless: A Blood Symphony” reprises the boilerplate brutal-female-abuse/brutal-female-revenge scenario of exploitation classics like “I Spit on Your Grave.” Amping-up the ick quotient while adding a thick coat of arty pretentiousness does not improve this. There’s a DVD audience for this kind of envelope-pushing “extreme cinema,” but even aficionados are likely to find this wannabe shocker from prolific Aussie indie filmmaker Mark Savage more stupid than disturbing.

Elizabeth Peace (Susanne Hausschmid) refuses to sign a contract permitting a development project on her pristine stretch of Victoria beach. Disgruntled business partners order her husband murdered; then her subsequent lesbian lover; then the protagonist and her only child. Nine months later, she mysteriously re-emerges from the ocean to wreak gruesome vengeance on the perps — all while wearing black bra and panties, pigtails, lipstick, and cute li’l pink sneakers. Despite the tale’s primitive, fable-like nature (underlined by the absence of dialogue, though not of screaming) execution is numbly literal and tastelessly gory in a ridiculous old-school Herschell Gordon Lewis way. Poetical sunset shots and classical music excerpts add insult to idiocy.

Defenceless: A Blood Symphony

Australia

Production

A Subversive Cinema production. Produced by Mark Savage, Susanne Hausschmid. Executive producer, Jerry Feifer. Co-producer, Rob Fazzino. Directed, written, edited by Mark Savage.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta);music, George Papanicolaou. Reviewed at Another Hole in the Head, San Francisco, June 12, 2006. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Susanne Hausschmid, Bethany Fisher, Colin Savage, Erin Walsh, Max Hopkins, Yvette Johannson, Mitchell Turner, Anthony Thorne, Richard Wolstencroft, Pamela Croft.
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