Girls Against Boys (2012)


Trying to leap forward like some feminist empowering thriller on the side of vengeful capable women this bloody suspense drama takes two steps backwards, one giant jump in reverse and keeps going. It had this slim potential to be alright in the set up but then becomes unlikable and ridiculous.

College student Shae (Danielle Panabaker) is expecting a great weekend with her older squeeze but he breaks it off. Breaking down at work she meets flame haired colleague Lu (Nicole LaLiberte) who encourages her to go on a night out with her. After an awful event Shae is pushed to the edge and lets Lu show her a violent side to get justice against the men of this world.

Generally speaking the entire concept of this film is shaky ground to build upon, it has some foundations in giving a movie for strong female types to stand up and be pro active but aside from that the story goes into pointless motion in the name of getting revenge. Austin Chick writes and directs, the screenplay is one that asks you to zone out from time to time for just being drivel, the only part of the film that steps up is when Shae has a chance at a normal life with DJ Tyler.

The student backdrop gives the movie that shot at hearing a lecturer speak about feminism, representation of women in art and life but this attempt at being clever about misogyny and then applying it to the movie itself doesn’t work as the red headed partner in crime is a wack job. Not even her blatant use of getting men to do what she wants with her sex appeal can justify the try hard attitude of giving this movie a go ahead for fair representation of women. It’s like Austin Chick is behind the camera believing that giving two females a lead, a gun and a motive is enough to warrant this dreary thriller.

Neither girls or boys come up trumps in this film, though because of the wholly psychotic Lu, you feel for a couple of guys that get caught up in her plan and pay with their lives. Some of the deaths are needless and for some reason apparently nice and normal Shae doesn’t seem overly phased by these atrocities around her and the ending sees her becoming a literal vision of Lu as she may help a new crying barmaid. This is a weak go at a circular narrative.

Hey, though one positive is Nathan Larson’s score which does bring a certain level of intensity to the scenes. It’s almost as if he knows what a thriller should sound like, he’s just let down by Chick who doesn’t get what a thriller should look and feel like. The music is a constant menace, a sort of doom bubbling away and I like the way it travels across the whole film.

Danielle Panabaker is doing a fair enough crack at this sweet, kind of dumb girl who gets tangled into a hot mess. The cold stare gives you that worrying edge that she’s on the verge of full on breakdown. Nicole LaLiberte does a stellar thing working up your hatred towards her character. The mindless entertainment she finds in killing men is an unnecessary obsession that doesn’t give this film the empowering female strength it should possess.

The entire idea of being on the side of women is lost, it’s never thrilling and feels slow in a tonne of places and aside from a couple of okay moments this is a fail at gender equality at the movies.



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