The Victim


If there’s anything refreshing about The Victim, it’s that it doesn’t rely on the thriller cliché of rooting for the innocent—there’s not an innocent to be found within. A coke party in the woods between off-duty detectives and their stripper girlfriends turns into a desperate cover-up when rough sex goes awry. One of the girls, Annie (Jennifer Blanc), flees into the woods to protect her life, finally taking shelter with a flannelled hermit, Kyle (Michael Biehn). Terminator and Hill Street Blues actor Biehn is director, screenwriter, and star here, continuing his midlife Orson Welles renaissance after having directed and co-starred with wife Blanc in something called The Blood Bond. Blanc’s principal actorly attribute is a nicotine-stained voice, but she gamely goes through the motions of simulated oral sex and delivering the line “Not only do you look good for 54, you fuck good for 54.” Biehn’s own performance has all the Midwestern tweakiness of a burned-out Dennis Hopper with none of the underlying tenderness, coming off instead like a lip-curling, intense homeless guy. He has assured himself against threat of upstaging by hiring two not-ready-for-dinner-theater actors, Ryan Honey and Denny Kirkwood, to play the cops who come chasing Annie. It is dreary to envisage the viewer who could become emotionally involved in The Victim, but it does have the kind of slack watchability—lugubrious driving scenes and girl-talk flashbacks pad the movie toward feature length—that make for good late-night TV.

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