GirlHouse (2014) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

GirlHouse (2014) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on August 17th, 2021 | Movie Review | Home Invasion, Killer, Confined, Maniac, Internet, Stalker

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It’s about the unseen dangers of the internet porn industry. 

GirlHouse was co-directed by Jon Knautz (The Cleaning Lady) and Trevor Matthews (producer of The Shrine) and written by Nick Gordon (First Kill). It stars Ali Corbon (Cold Cabin) as its lead scream-queen, Kylie, Adam DiMarco (an unnamed injured red shirt in Star Trek Beyond and Zack in the new Charmed) as her earnest boyfriend, Ben, and George Carroll as ‘Loverboy’ – the killer (from Let Me Make You a Martyr) (perhaps better known by his hip hop moniker ‘Slaine’).

Is a high-security house for homestyle-internet-porn-streaming as safe as promised?

GirlHouse Review

As much as the square horror movie fan (like myself) wants to dislike a sexploitation slasher film set in the porn industry, GirlHouse has a corny charm to it; a charm that can’t be denied. The film’s characters debate the morality of a largely anonymous (and purportedly harmless) internet porn business with lines that might have been plucked from a 1950’s film about venereal disease.

Like many horror films, GirlHouse is deeply conservative, even though its portrayal of the pornography industry is initially lighthearted. To work in the ‘Girl House’ (with cameras in every cranny beaming skin into cyberspace) is good fun, rewarding, and quite respectable for the young ladies who sign up for it. It’s a skin trade with all the scum scrubbed clean.

It’s so much safer than old-fashioned whorehouses. Internet sex for profit generates wealth for the investors and the workers alike within a secure location guarded by an ex-linebacker security detail with jawbones like Viking ships. It’s an attractive workplace. Luxurious, really. Presumably, there’s paid vacations and even dental. What could go wrong?

The film even distances itself from the forgiving presentation of pornography in Boogie Nights – dismissing that sort of smut as gross and too 1970s. Girl House is different. “It’s not skanky ‘Boogie Nights’ porn,” rationalizes Kylie, natively. It’s safe.

The third act proves her wrong. Even clean porn is fundamentally dangerous, dangerous to both flesh and psyche. The body count of the young women tallies the proof that pornography is dehumanizing in the corporeal sense. The girls die, horribly.

Thus, the film disproves its initial assertions. Web-porn is far worse than a slightly shameful way to generate cash.  Kylie is not an unscrupulous tramp – she’s just trying to support her widowed mother. But hidden within the anonymity of the porn-web stalks a killer. She’s taken a shortcut through the woods and a wolf lurks there.

Our wolf-like killer, played by George Carroll, is the actor who carries the film. Carroll’s villain is diabolical but just sympathetic enough to generate viewer engagement with the narrative. Granted, his excessive sweating and lightspeed keyboarding is a little over the top. But even after he dons a full woman’s face mask for his disturbing furor set pieces which close out the movie, a little humanity pokes through. His destructiveness seems a natural outgrowth of Kylie’s missteps. She doesn’t deserve this. But she could have avoided it. All of the GirlHouse girls could have.

Worth Watching?

As a nuanced expose of pornography? No. But for the performance of George Carroll, yes, it is worth a watch. 

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