Film Review: Victim (2010)

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Grieving the loss of his daughter, a surgeon kidnaps and surgically alters a young man to take her place. Yeah, Victim is creepy and kinky, and charges into some subject matter that is sure to make men cringe. The unwilling transformation from male to female is probably one of the most provocative, original ideas I’ve seen a horror film tackle in the last several years.

As fascinated by gender studies as I am, the movie couldn’t possibly have lived up to my high hopes. The subject (a brave actor named Stephen Weigand) undergoes a brainwashing regiment that undercuts the impact of the pure horror he’s undergoing: breast implants, castration, hormone treatments, etc.  While those steps in the transformation are more visceral, it’s some earlier scenes, while Weigand’s character still has some grasp on his identity, that disturbed me more.  In one, he’s forced to put on a dress while a brute henchman watches. Weigand freaks out under the henchman’s lusty gaze. I thought this moment of turning the “male gaze” on itself is the movie’s best, most horrifying moment.

Victim is conceptually fascinating, but I’d like for it to have ended differently. A last-minute plot twist sophisticates the plot when I’d more like to have seen some sophistication of theme.

Rating: 3.5/5 ★★★½☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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