Sometimes trying to reinvent a genre can be a daunting and seemingly pointless task. When it comes to slasher films, there have been countless attempts to reapproach the "Ten Little Indians" type set up with an unknown killer waiting in the wings to pick them off one by one. Despite most of the films being copycats and cash grabs, there have been a handful that don't attempt to reinvent but still leave a positive impact on viewers. Director Trevor Matthews and writer Nick Gordon took several of the winning pieces to slasher films and crafted them into their own updated version on the classic subgenre. Girl House is a provocative look at exploitation in the modern age and how it effects the typical slasher killer. With great pacing, intelligent plot decisions, and bloody good fun, this film takes the past and creates an instant classic for the modern viewer.
Kylie (Ali Cobrin) is trying to manage the recent death of her father and pay for school. Not wanting to worry her already fragile mother, she decides to answer the call from an internet entrepreneur Gary (James Thomas) with a tantalizing business offer. "Girl House" is his revolutionary attempt to take the porn industry and class it up. The idea: a mansion filled with cameras and young women residing in it to perform sexual desires for viewers on the "Girl House" website. Kylie joins Gary's group of girls and quickly becomes the sites latest hit. One avid member, Loverboy (Slaine), instantly feels a connection with Kylie that he just can't shake. Meanwhile, young Ben (Adam DiMarco) recognizes Kylie from school and decides that this would be the time to finally confess his crush for her. Kylie does accept Ben, but after Loverboy comes on too strong, the mystery viewer decides to make her notice him. Since he can't have her love, Loverboy dons his best slasher get up and decides to pay all of the girls a visit.
A premise about a porn house filled with young women screams surface level and typical slasher, but the film ends up undressing and revealing the brains surging underneath. Right from the start of the film there is a sign that developing characters was a focus for writer Nick Gordon. The first scene introduces viewers to the young "Loverboy" as he's teased by two young girls. Feeling rejected and humiliated, he attacks the antagonistic girl with no remorse which reveals that Loverboy is harboring some deep evil. This was a nice set up for the killer to show his need for acceptance from women, as well as his fear of being sexually frustrated. Many of the other characters, including the lead Kylie, have more layers than the typical slasher film. Many of the typical set ups used like jump scares or false attacks are shown but then quickly dropped to leave the viewer guessing what could happen next. The idea to have the attacks centered in a house filled with cameras felt reminiscent of Halloween Resurrection, but Girl House took the issues of that film and made them work. Instead of making the cameras a gimmick, director Trevor Matthews utilized the different angles and online viewers to create interesting dynamics. There's even a scene where the camera becomes the POV of the viewer and has a nice found footage feeling. The biggest boost is the killer with his drag queen-esque mask that looked like a mixture of Leatherface and Alice, Sweet Alice. He has a fantastic presence and attempts different ways of killing victims to keep the bloody fun up and boredom factor down.
Overall Girl House is a solid rehash of the past with some updates on the slasher film. Using the online world as the means for a killer to do his dirty work but also as a means for the victims to fight back was a brilliant choice. Looking at this film from an objective view may leave some with a negative pre-judgment on what to expect, but those that enter inside will find a great ride with a little something to offer for any horror fan.