Boozie Movies! Dead Hooker in a Trunk Review

Who says Punk is dead? For those of you who are sick and tired of youth focused DIY cinema equating to eighty five minutes of twenty something slackers from Williamsburg or Austin mumbling about their feelings in dimly lit kitchens while Sufjan Stevens croons in the background, I present to you, Dead Hooker in a Trunk.

Watching Dead Hooker in a Trunk is like having the best bare backing sex of your life while hopped up on junk with a fugly prostitute in a seedy motel room on the wrong side of town. This is the type of trick that might make you wince at first but has the experience and imagination to send you on a ride well worth your hard earned money. And even when those chancre sores start sprouting up and you pray that the burning sensation is just an enlarged prostate, you refuse to look back with regret. It might have been dirty, but if you're a follower of John Waters, you know better. "If it don't feel dirty, ya ain't doing it right." This is a rough and raw little film that finishes off with one hell of a climax.

Before jumping into more hyperbole and spending the next few paragraphs singing praise for this indie gem, a few things need be made clear. Dead Hooker in a Trunk is a no-budget, completely DIY affair. There are some major issues with the pacing. The audio mixing is often off and sometimes completely broken.  There are key scenes that sound like they were recorded on an in camera mic at red lining levels. The actual plot makes about as much sense as Republican tea party politics with confusing and sometimes dumbfounding twists and tone shifts and...

Despite all of these glaring shortcomings, Dead Hooker in a Trunk is an absolute stand out hit that delivers the goods. I already feel a tinge of guilt for making a point to illustrate the film's faults in the second paragraph but I feel as though it is essential in tempering expectations. Googling the film's title will yield a plethora of glowing reviews that are creating a hype I fear few micro budget indies could withstand.

It should probably also be noted that 99.9% of the critics are men. Based on their comments alone, it would also seem that all of them are smitten with the gorgeous filmmakers, Jen & Sylvia Soska.  Yes, the film is being sold on a pretty wicked gimmick that is going to immediately win a place in every male genre fan's heart. Dead Hooker in a Trunk was written, directed, and stars attractive identical twin sisters making this an exploitation film that we can proudly rave about to our girlfriends.  All of the inherent misogyny and violence against women is now void since it was made by women right?... On second thought, scratch that. The moment I told my partner it was directed by twin sisters she rolled her eyes and hung her head with a sigh. What exactly is it with men's obsession over twins anyhow?

While the film certainly delivers on the promise of the title, there isn't much of a story beyond that. There is a dead hooker in a trunk, but it's been difficult processing what else happened in what order and why. Identical twin sisters, Jen and Sylvia Soska play identical twin sisters, Geek and Badass. They're accompanied by friends, Junkie and Goody Two Shoes.  The film starts fast with little exposition or set up. Junkie plays a punk show, gets lit, throws a temper tantrum, and storms out of the club while a hooded stranger murders a prostitute elsewhere. Junkie wakes up at Geek and Badass' home. Geek asks Badass to pick up her friend, Goody Two Shoes at a church group meeting. Junkie comes along for the ride to pick up drugs afterward. They soon discover a dead hooker in their trunk and all hell breaks loose. Following events rarely connect or make sense. For inexplicable reasons, the group takes the body to a motel to wash off.  They get the room for free by allowing the hotel clerk to the fuck the corpse in their car. Geek keeps calling the cops for no discernible reason. Badass easily evades the police with a strip tease and ass kicking. The group is randomly attacked while Junkie scores dope. Geek has her eye knocked out with a baseball bat.  Junkie has her arm dismembered and then sewn back on. They dig a grave but don't bury the body. They decide to get high and sing around a camp fire. They are chased by a cowboy who may have been the hooker's pimp or killer. It can be tough to keep up.  In short, Dead Hooker in a Trunk plays out like a DV punk rock update of Bring Me the Head of Alfred Garcia. Except that this is more of a nihilistic buddy comedy and eschews all of the existential dread of Peckinpah's classic.

Fortunately, the film's high energy carries it along for the most part and keeps things entertaining enough to retain interest. It's not without a hiccup or two. One of the film's greatest strengths is also its biggest flaws. The utter randomness of events and actions land some big laughs but it's a wobbly tightrope act. Imagine a 99 minute episode of Family Guy directed by 70's era Abel Ferrera with hot twins.

Dead Hooker has already earned a fair amount of praise online for its fight choreography and practical effects and rightly so. The Soska sisters know how to expertly stage some crazy fucking mayhem. A fun bit of trivia; the film was put together during the writers' strike of 2007 allowing the directors to bring in professional talent on the cheap. Stuntmen and stunt coordinators from X-Men, Indiana Jones, and Elektra pitched in a lending hand during their down time. The violence comes quick and generally without warning. The film's loopy, carefree attitude pleasantly clashes with the brutal and surprisingly realistic gore.  While attention spans are bound to wander at times, Jen and Sylvia do a fantastic job of bitch slapping the audience's attention back with random acts of ultra violence. Without spoiling anything more, there's at least five moments that are sure to bring the house down at any screening.  Something else you can tell your girlfriend is that the physical gore effects were also handled by two very talented sisters.

While Dead Hooker in a Trunk is an intentionally silly exploitation film, it lacks the smug, self-referential attitude that plagues most films of a similar ilk today. This isn't desperate to capitalize on nostalgia nor does it pander to its audience. After seeing the newly released trailer for Machete after wasting two hours of my time on the utterly mediocre The Expendables, it was refreshing to find a simple, guilty pleasure B- Movie.

If you're not already sold on the title alone, there's not much that can be said to convince you otherwise. You're getting exactly what's advertised. However, if you're on board and willing to forgive some budgetary related issues, I'm sure this labor of love is going to rub a lotta love off on you.  It's also loaded with some very catchy rock tunes. I already want a copy of the soundtrack. Fans of Shonen Knife & The 5, 6, 7, 8's will need to keep an eye out for the Titan Go Kings.

Dead Hooker in a Trunk will be getting its Philadelphia premiere on Tuesday, September 14th at Bob & Barbara's Lounge at 1509 South Street. Doors open at 9:00pm.

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