Girls Against Boys

Girls Against Boys is intensely laconic, with so little dialogue it could almost all fit the 140-character Twitter max. This reticence is due, perhaps, to the film’s own confused relationship with itself. Is it a high-camp female revenge fantasy, in the vein of the far superior Teeth? Is it a psychosexual thriller preoccupied with homo-social behavior among women, in the vein of Black Swan? Or, most likely, is it a derivative distillation of various horror motifs that fails to cohere, or even to gross out? Writer/director Austin Chick intersperses college-lecture scenes (“post-feminist critiques” of Japanese animation is a rib-bruising set piece) with the rudderless revenge-mongering of Shae (Danielle Panabaker)—an ingénue-cipher with an uncanny resemblance to Judy Garland—and Lu (Nicole LaLiberte), Shae’s bad angel who looks like Emma Stone’s collagened evil twin. The obligatory lesbian kiss is checked off like a box on a clipboard, but the B-horror standbys that might rescue the film from self-serious tedium are nowhere to be found. Where are the chain saw castrations? The taut moments of imminent gore? The closest we get is a scene in which a rape enabler gets shot with a pistol through the anus—a symmetrical retribution for sexual assault and, sadly, the movie’s cleverest moment. Should we congratulate Chick (XX/XY) for the Thelma & Louise rewrite? He seems to think so.

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