I give you the Blu-ray version of THE BUNNY GAME; a film that caused much of a stir when it was released last year. Labeled as hypersexual and shocking and banned in the UK, I requested it and it came to my door, like so many others before it. But that’s where any similarity between this viewing experience and so many cinematic sexploitation experiences before it (where hate and love are often expressed as one-in-the-same) ends, at least for this dyed-in-the-wool sleaze reviewer.
First some backstory; this film is none other than the brainchild of Adam Rehmeir and Rodleen Getsic, who portrays the the hapless blonde prostitute targeted by trucker, "The Hog" (Jeff Renfro). What is not so easy to comprehend is the amount of actual suffering that Ms. Getsic voluntarily endured to perfectly portray the physical suffering of “Bunny”, a woman chained in the back of a tractor trailer and abused for weeks by a psychopathic trucker. Reportedly, Getsic fasted for a month in preparation for her role, and all of the onscreen abuses she endured were real except for the booze and drugs. Of course, I’ve been skeptical of claims like this since the BLAIR WITCH “hoax”, yet the actual oral copulation scene at the beginning of the film starring Getsic does make me realize that the makers of this film are playing by a different set of rules than most underground movie producers, and, by that, I mean none whatsoever.
Of course, a sad tale of a fellatious streetwalker would be nothing new, especially not to me, but this film suddenly becomes something so much more, if not arguably less. Bunny is soon solicited by a trucker who becomes violent, chloroforms her, and then sequesters her in the back of his rig; a rolling torture chamber of sorts. As hard as it may seem to believe, that’s when this film becomes something I simply haven’t seen before. All attempts to pigeon hole it or categorize it by comparing to films I have previously seen failed miserably. Even though I watched it to completion, I still can’t tell you what it is ultimately about, so, instead, let me tell you what it is not, using the rules of the various genres of which I like to consider myself something of an authority.
The Bunny Game might have been torture porn, but the scenes of violence lack the careful, premeditated medical experimentation of TURISTAS or HOSTEL. It might have been a horror movie, but there was no dramatic chase scene where BUNNY was originally captured, nor were there any fast paced and frenetic escape sequences. It might have been a rape/revenge thriller, such as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, but Bunny never gets anything but abused throughout its duration. It might have been a psychological thriller, but there isn’t much of a plot regarding the reason why this woman is being held to begin with, nor what “SAW”-like game she must successfully complete in order to leave and live. It might have been a fetish film, but it’s unsexy, violent, and too schizophrenic even for most S+M films. Finally, it might have been an old Trent Reznor music video, because the background industrial noise sounds more than a little like the ambient bangs and clangs from the old QUAKE soundtrack, but there is no way that any screen grab from this film could be used as the cover for a CD sold at a Wal-mart.
What you are left with is a very technically proficient but ultimately pointless film that doesn’t ask it’s viewer to directly feel or to empathize with its female protagonist, but merely scathes your senses with as much visual and auditory unpleasantness as possible. Apparently, it was designed as a cautionary tale of sorts, but I am not buying it purely by the rules established by Lifetime movies (the masters of such pap). The victims of cautionary tales should always be portrayed as some kind of innocent in order to heighten the impact of their subsequent torture and destruction at the result of a single bad choice or habit. The fact that the main character is portrayed as actually giving a man a blowjob in the opening scene for money makes her future torments at the hands of the trucker (while certainly not justified) hardly “unthinkable” according to most people’s views of women who sell their body for money. Had the protagonist been a poor single woman or college student nabbed in a parking lot while buying groceries, I can imagine the interest in the exploits of “Bunny” and the moral outrage at her treatment would have surely been more powerful for most viewers. In the end, I think this shocker film (if not the unique avant-garde circumstances regarding its production involving actual bodily abuse) has more to do with a JACKASS movie than any socially relevant depiction of violence against women that will invite dialogue and intelligent discourse. Yet it is far from just another, simple, senseless, sexplotation roughie. Beautifully shot, jarringly presented, and woefully meaningless at its conclusion, this “Bunny Game” is not fun for everyone. I didn’t “like” it, but I don’t think that was ever the point. I give it three skulls for being regrettable but unforgettable. Woe to the souls of those who somehow find this erotic or wank-worthy.
Extras Include full commentary with Adam Rehmeier and Rodleen Getsic; a “making of” featurette; a trailer and alternate trailer, and a full DVD copy of the movie.
If you think you can stomach it, grab a copy here!