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Monday, September 8, 2014

THE FORBIDDEN GIRL -- DVD review by porfle

I'm not sure what I just watched, but it was called THE FORBIDDEN GIRL (2013) and it was about...uhh...give me a minute...

At first I thought it was going to be an intense fright flick which would go for the sort of RING-type scares that are so common nowadays. Toby McClift (Peter Gadiot, NIGHT WOLF, "Caesar") is secretly meeting his girlfriend Katie (Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen) in a crypt at night when suddenly she's carried off screaming by some kind of jerkily-edited demonic entity surrounded by black CGI smoke. Hmm, looks like this might get scary.

But this spook tale is even more fanciful than THE RING because Toby's father--a pastor who's your stereotypical fundie religious fanatic--has "forbidden" him to experience normal relations with a woman lest he release evil into the world. (One of the disadvantages of being some kind of mystical "chosen one", y'see.)

Well, Toby ends up in the nut house over the whole thing, but when he gets out he manages to score a tutoring position in a huge Gothic mansion for a reclusive young girl named Laura Wallace who is actually, as it turns out, his beloved Katie.

And just as we're muttering "No way!" to ourselves, we meet the mistress of the house, Lady Wallace (Jeanette Hain, THE WHISTLEBLOWER), a bedridden old crone who seems to be undergoing a HELLRAISER-style rejuvenation process, and her protector-lover Mortimer (Klaus Tange), a blonde bundle of sinewy hostility with a penchant, we soon learn, for turning into that black CGI smoke monster we got a glimpse of earlier.

Anyway, the whole affair quickly develops into the sort of shadowy, leaf-strewn Gothic romance blather that we used to read about in comic books like "House of Mystery", with Toby pledging to free Laura/Katie from the lonely bondage of her tower room while the power of his love conquers whatever Lady Wallace and Mortimer can throw at him with whatever supernatural powers they eventually turn out to have. And boy, do they ever have plans--evil plans--for the both of our hapless young lovers.

What those plans are finally start to emerge from the murky enigma that is THE FORBIDDEN GIRL until some late revelations put a little life into the largely dopey and dull story. What gets us by until then is that exquisite Gothic setting and some lush production design, which, although weighed down by lots of unfortunate CGI (when will they ever learn that CGI isn't scary?), will serve as the backdrop for a confusing but lively climax featuring generous amounts of rather fine boobage.

Still, none of this is very scary or menacing. In fact, some of the earlier passages, in which Toby doubles for the usual female heroine in this "stranger in a creepy mansion" sort of story, are almost ADDAMS FAMILY-like. Gadiot's stiff, rather childlike acting style and a sometimes almost whimsical musical score also add to what amounts to a kind of precious theatricality to the proceedings.

Till Hastreiter, a capable director, goes for some lightweight Ken Russell/David Lynch surrealism in an early dream sequence but reverts to the "kitchen sink" style of throwing anything that might stick at the film's blustery finale, which will either have you thinking "Hey, this is pretty cool, and...boobs!" or scratching your head at the sheer eye-boggling inanity of it all.

The DVD from Inception Media Group is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and English subtitles. A trailer is the sole extra.

I'm still not even quite sure whether or not I was entertained by THE FORBIDDEN GIRL, but I do know that it was mildly interesting for awhile, and then it got all "Wow! Stuff's, like, happening!" near the end, and then there was one ending too many, and then the fadeout left me thinking, "Well, that was--huh?"

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