Sunday, July 6, 2014
AnnaLynn McCord is so much fun as a psychotic woman scorned that this rather predictable, average “vengeance is mine, saith woman” thriller is boosted in value because of her. Or at least to me, McCord’s presence in the lead makes Scorned (2013) worth sitting through. Essentially a three character play set at a lavish condo overlooking Hollywood (I’m guessing, the cityscape lights can be seen as a backdrop to the condo), McCord stars as Sadie, formerly of an institution, dating the man of her dreams, Kevin (Billy Zane).
Kevin has been fucking Sadie’s best friend, Jennifer (Viva Bianca), and the woman betrayed finds out. So Sadie awaits until the perfect opportunity to subdue both Kevin and Jennifer at the condo and begins to terrorize them. While the film doesn’t condone what the lovers did, Sadie’s psychopathic behavior is of such the wackjob variety that the film never becomes too disturbing.
I think it boils down to McCord’s feasting on the part with relish, like this one absurd scene where her Sadie threatens to microwave Jennifer’s dog if Kevin doesn’t perform cunnilingus on her. Then there is the scene involving electroshock and a peculiar, perverse text message as Sadie answers in Kevin’s voice to mom. Because McCord plays the character with just enough ‘crazed and witty’, the film’s tone never truly develops any level of skin-crawling, unsettling unease. Plus the fact that Kevin and Jennifer had been screwing around on McCord doesn’t help in regards to sympathy...if anything, their sympathy card is revoked because of how McCord was kept in the dark as they carried on an affair. During the electroshock, Sadie informs Jennifer, in an apology, that she peed her pants! The film does get more than a bit nuts when Sadie brings out a vice and places Jennifer’s hand in it to teach her lesson about trying to escape as Kevin almost does! Then there’s the cringe-inducing Misery scene where Kevin is punished for trying to get to his gun to shoot Sadie (it’s called “hobbling”). Sadie doesn’t know how Bates’ character could “break the other one.”
You have a lot of psycho hi-jinks in the film, but there’s one scene that really tells us how good McCord is. The explanation regarding a dog loving her sister and the drowning produces a flashback that provides a tear that Sadie can’t hold back. I think these slight moments of reflection when a character truly feels despite the psychopathy motivating a silent rage that consumes and produces violence can take a film to the next level. Gruesome acts to people that wrong you in a way that is very John Waters-esque, with a wink-wink dark humor edge often acquire a particular taste and rather seldom have this moment where the crazy person learns of the damage done by her behavior, but this moment regarding the drowned victim does show that Sadie realizes a wrong done, even if she was convinced that her sister had to pay for a dog’s affections shifting to another.
Of course this lasts seconds as Sadie realizes that Jennifer’s beautiful smile needs an imperfection; this derives from a thought that the puppy and Kevin might have remained hers if her sister and Jennifer weren’t prettier than her. After a bit of dental destruction, the smile is made a little less beautiful as Sadie comments on how Jennifer has such pretty teeth! When Jennifer spits blood in her face, Sadie contemplates aloud that she must be pissed (no, really?!?!) If Sadie hadn’t put these through enough torment, she wants to “cure” Kevin of his wandering eyes! It keeps going and going…establishing how psycho Sadie is was the intent and the progression of violence towards the victims indicates just that.
A lot of good actresses at least portray the batshit crazy nutcase once in their careers. This is as if actresses need to scratch the part off of their list of characters to perform within said career. McCord can now do so as any type of re-visit to such a character as this would seem irrelevant. When Jennifer just unleashes a tirade against Sadie to just get over it and move on because they were supposed to be friends, a classic comeback of “You’re such a drama queen” lets us know that this part has that level of quirk and eccentric entitled to the batshit crazy role.
The film’s final dark joke comes in the form of “There is a God after all.” You get the basic “the victims alllllllmost get away” sequences at the end, the “will she pay for her sins?” moments with cops showing up and a boat propeller spinning that might possibly harm McCord, and the subplot of an escaped lunatic from the asylum with tattooed face is presented as a potential foil/threat to McCord that winds up being more of a tool of opportunity for her to use to further her success in a scenario to explain away murders committed by her. The point of “men are dogs, and the women they cheat with are no better” is used throughout the film as the device that incurs McCord’s wrath and the ultimate irony of it all is that no matter what relationship she enters, this doesn’t change. As long as Sadie continues to choose men that only want her for an easy lay, the results of murder and torture are certain to continue. There’s a torture movie sequel we won’t see that will only follow as Sadie’s betrayal results in a new beau and the attractive waitress getting their supposed just desserts. After all, Sadie is just correcting the mistakes of those in her life…it’s just that her type of correcting ends up with mutilation and electric bolts.
McCord is sure easy on the eyes, I must say. I especially loved her strutting stunts regarding showing her little waste inside her tiny panties to men she plans to hurt badly. She tosses around “fuck” and “pussy”, gives an eyeful of what she has in desirable goodies neglectfully dismissed by those who have her for their leisure yet wandering eyes/libido result in an injustice she exacts her brand of vengeance towards, and has this quality of seductive prancing about that only qualifies her as a bit of a fucktoy for men to discard (they believe, but as the film shows, they couldn’t be more inaccurate) once they’ve had their fun. I loved to just watch her work her magic on screen. I even dug the colored locks and polka dot dress she wears for Zane. I understand she comes from television dramas with spice and sexual intrigue so her role her seems tailor made and a coat that easily slides on. I would love to see her take more of a risk and continue to star in projects that would broaden her horizons. She’s sensual, aware of her prowess, and charismatic enough to hold attention. She’s a star, I think.
"You need to be cured of wanting to fuck each other. All you need is a little electricity."
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
"Don’t go anywhere."
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Dracula's Daughter ('36)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Mad Love 1935
Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?
Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.
Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.