Perpetrator (2023) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Perpetrator (2023) Review

Horrorific content by angie on September 19th, 2023 | Movie Review | Supernatural, Mutant, Psychological, Thriller, Mystery, Teen, Dysfunctional Family

Add Perpetrator (2023) to your Watchlist

Add to Watchlist

You need to login or register to add this movie to your horror watchlist.

It's about a reckless teen who is sent to live with her estranged Aunt Hildie. On the event of her eighteenth birthday, she experiences a radical metamorphosis: a family spell that redefines her called Forevering. When several teen girls go missing at her new school, a mythically feral Jonny goes after the Perpetrator.

Perpetrator was directed by Jennifer Reeder (Night’s End, V/H/S/94) and stars Kiah McKirnanAlicia Silverstone (The Requin, The Lodge, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Chris Lowell (My Best Friend's ExorcismMelanie LiburdIreon RoachAvery HollidayCasimere JolletteSasha KuznetsovIlirida Memedovski, and Greta Stolte.

Perpetrator Review

Jennifer Reeder's latest film, "Perpetrator," boldly explores the tumultuous journey of coming of age for young girls, shedding light on the often harsh and bloody realities they face as they navigate adolescence. While the film lacks subtlety, it serves as an unapologetic call to address urgent issues often dismissed or ignored.

The story centers around Jonquil, known as Jonny, who is sent to live with her aunt because her guardian feels ill-equipped to guide her through this transformative stage of her life. Her new environment could be more comfortable. At school, students are graded on their compliance during active shooter drills, while girls are discouraged from defending themselves against male assault, as it may be perceived as provocative. Meanwhile, girls are mysteriously disappearing, their posters plastered throughout the town, bearing witness to their absence.

Reeder skillfully weaves a narrative that portrays life's messy and complicated nature, refusing to adhere to conventional storytelling norms. On Jonny's 18th birthday, she undergoes a life-altering experience that is unique to the women in her family and always connected to blood. Critics have tried to categorize her newfound abilities, asking if she's a vampire or a werewolf, but Reeder challenges the limitations of these labels. Jonny is simply Jonny, and her extraordinary empathy, initially overwhelming, becomes a remarkable strength.

Empowered by her newfound abilities, Jonny takes it upon herself to find the missing girls, leading the film into more conventional territory. Adolescents are forced to confront various challenges but must also navigate the familiar world and define their moral compass. As Jonny evolves from the school's weird kid into someone who might offer help or a new way of life, she forges a tender romance with one of her peers. Uncovering a connection between the missing girls, Jonny's determination propels her forward, unaware that her adversary understands her better than most.

Reeder seamlessly blends the film's narrative with poetic and experiential elements, delving into Jonny's sensory overload through hallucinatory sequences, often drenched in blood. Nick Zinner's intense musical score heightens these moments, underscoring the disconnect between Jonny's emotions and her environment. Characters like a school counselor preoccupied with her appearance post-plastic surgery highlight the film's exploration of identity, gender, and self-expression.

The film champions the power of the feminine rather than simply the female, advocating for the respect and recognition of girls and women who express themselves in ways historically dismissed as weak. In a year where mainstream success has seen Barbie embrace these ideals, "Perpetrator" takes it further. In one pivotal scene, a chorus of girls chants a disruptive phrase that reclaims ownership and redefines a concept historically linked to disempowerment. "Perpetrator" heralds a joyful uprising of formidable women rejecting a life of fear and dependency, believing it can get better.

Worth Watching?

Jennifer Reeder's film serves as a bold and unapologetic call to action, challenging society to address the pressing issues young girls face as they age. Through its embrace of bodily experiences and the emotional complexities of communal connections, "Perpetrator" urges us to acknowledge that, despite the challenges, there is hope for a better future.

Perpetrator Review (2023) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

Would it Kill You to Subscribe?

Get horror news, reviews and movie recommendations every Friday!

We respect your email privacy