Anna: Scream Queen Killer takes us on a journey into the world of indie grind house film auditions with a twist. Our young actress is desperate to make it in the movies. She is invited to a series of filmed auditions, playing out various scenarios on camera. The problem is, the director is a perverted sicko with only one thing on his mind. As the actress progresses through an ever more bizarre series of roles she slowly realizes all the man wants is sexual satisfaction. Forced to strip, and do carnal things in the name of the art, she eventually flips and takes matters into her own hands.
I’m not sure what the intentions were when the idea for Anna: Scream Queen Killer popped into star/co-director/co-writer Melanie Denholme’s head but I’m pretty sure she didn’t expect what the end product ended up looking like because what I watched was something akin to a catastrophic car wreck. Except there was only one person and one car involved. And the accident took 75 minutes to play out. And the only casualties were my eyes. And my ears. Oh yeah…maybe a bit of my sanity as well.
And although I’m loathe to admit this, That’s too bad because somewhere in here there’s the kernel of a pretty decent (If shopworn) story here. Allow me to explain…
Anna (Melanie Denholme) is a struggling young British actress who’s managed to snare an audition with an unseen (& almost never heard) producer. He gives her various scenarios to act out for him as he silently records her. But after a while Anna begins to get the impression that maybe there isn’t any film that she’s auditioning for and maybe the guy with the camera is some kind of perverted maniac. The film takes place in a series of hotel rooms that the auditions take place in. We’re never given any idea as to how much time is going by though, it could be a series of days, weeks, months but we’re never given any clue to that. Nor do we know if Anna is even getting paid for any of these interviews, although as the film proceeds I just figured that if she was so stupid to continue doing what she does in the film then she was probably too stupid to ask for any money either.
And what is it that she does in this movie you ask? Well she does pretty much anything the mysterious cameraman tells her to do! Take off your clothes? That’s cool! Pretend to masturbate for the camera? No problem! Simulate oral sex? Easy Peasy! Pretend to get raped? A mere bag of shells! Actually get raped? Well, she wasn’t quite expecting that but OK! And here dear acolytes is where the stupidity stands up front & center. Maybe I don’t know too much about the female mentality but it seems to me that if someone asks you to audition for a role in a film and you travel with him to half a dozen different hotel rooms to act out his masochistic fantasies over and over again AND THEN end up getting raped by him not once…but repeatedly and all you have to say is “I wasn’t quite ready for that…but OK”, then maybe the problem is you.
Not only does she get raped in hotel rooms but she gets abused in the middle of a forest and she shows how she can completely undress herself while driving (which is admittedly pretty impressive) and play with herself at the same time! The girl has some mad skills!! But her happy meal is so short of a few French fries that after the first 10 minutes of this film I just wanted to throw my DVD player out the window with the disc still inside of it.
Obviously intended to be some sort of showcase for Ms. Denholme’s talents, Anna: Scream Queen Killer suffers from delusions of grandeur. Denholme is the only person onscreen, we do see the cameraman’s body a few times but never his head/face and he only utters one word in the whole film (“Action”) so it’s pretty plain to see that Denholme intended this to be some sort of a coming out party for her and her talents. And she actually is talented! She runs through a gamut of emotions throughout the film that are really quite convincing and although she’s nice to look at her beauty is more of an unconventional kind of beauty but that works for the character because it gives her a sense of being a normal woman with high hopes and not some unattainable Amazonian goddess with looks to die for and the world at her feet.
But dang it’s hard to carry a movie if you’re the only character on screen! And it’s even harder when the character you’re playing is a stupid as a bag of hammers. Why oh why did Anna decide to continue to assist the perv with his celluloid fantasies over and over again? Why doesn’t she call the cops after she’s raped and abused? Why doesn’t she ever ask for any money? Why is she so goddamned stupid??
I still think there might be a good film in here somewhere though. The central conceit has merit and maybe if the onus of carrying the film wasn’t placed squarely on Anna’s shoulders they might’ve had something. Maybe a few more characters to help break up the monotony of seeing the same girl in various states of undress in a series of hotel rooms (Yes, it is monotonous after awhile). Maybe if she actually KILLED SOMEONE besides the nutty cameraman? And I don’t care if you guys think that’s a spoiler either, there’s only one other person in the film so who the hell else do you think she killed?
And if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s a bonus on the disc in which Ms. Denholme describes what it’s like to be a struggling scream queen and shows us how women should pretend to have sex on screen. And after watching her go through all of the motions in a most convincing manner I can firmly proclaim that I’m now convinced that every woman I’ve ever been with studied at the same acting school she did. My entire sexual history is nothing but a sham…
If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then maybe this is the flick for you. Me? I’m still depressed over the realization that women have been lying to me for the entirety of my adult life.
Anna: Scream Queen Killer – .5 out of 5 shrouds.