MPI // 2009 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // February 17th, 2012
It must suck to be in a trunk.
The debut film from Jen and Sylvia Soska is not a pretty affair, but it delivers what the title promises. Dead Hooker in a Trunk is campy and often funny, with enough cartoonish violence to give anyone a solid jolt. It might not be for everybody, but fans of old-school sadistic exploitation should get a thrill out of it.
After a rough night of partying, Badass (Sylvia Soska) is going to take her friend, Junky (Rikki Gagne, Dark Moon Rising), to score some drugs, but agrees to take her sister, Geek (Jen Soska), to make a stop along the way to pick up Goody Two Shoes (C.J. Wallis), her best friend, from his church youth group. As soon as they start down the road after picking him up, though, they smell something in the trunk. Opening it, they find the titular dead hooker and a pile of drugs, but Badass and Junky can't remember enough from the previous evening to know whether they did it or not. Rather than calling the police, much to Goody's chagrin, they set off on an odyssey to bury the body, but find roadblocks like a cowboy pimp on horseback, Chinese triad members, and a sadistic serial killer along the way.
I saw the trailer for Dead Hooker in a Trunk while reviewing another film and it looked like the kind of super campy action romp that I would want to see. Part of that wound up being true; it is a super campy action romp. The part about wanting to see it? I was wrong about that part. It's a kitchen sink style of movie that betrays the fact that this is a first effort by people who desperately needed a script editor. It's a series of scenes with no focus or sense of story. At first, it feels novel, but it eventually becomes fairly annoying. The twin writer/director/stars have a good independent spirit and have made a technically very competent film, but the story just doesn't make any sense.
Obviously, with characters like Badass, Geek, Junkie, and Goody Two Shoes, this isn't the kind of thing that requires itself to be taken seriously. Just because it's all in fun, though, doesn't make it palatable. There are plenty of individual things to have fun with: certain jokes work pretty well and the violence comes off like something out of Looney Tunes. Anything and everything that exists in the movie could work in small doses during movies with actual plots, but all together, it comes off as a messy collection of scenes that I can't really get behind. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will appreciate what they've done and, on a certain level, I suppose I do, as well, but appreciating their effort doesn't mean I have to like it.
The disc for Dead Hooker in a Trunk from MPI looks and sounds pretty good, given the limitations of the film itself. The transfer is strong, with good colors and no digital errors. The stereo sound is full of nice, punchy music and well-balanced dialog. There are no real problems at all. Extras include a brief behind-the-scenes featurette, a short interview, a few deleted and alternate scenes, and the trailer.
Dead Hooker in a Trunk is certainly not the worst thing I've ever seen. There are a few solid laughs and a lot of bloodshed, but that isn't enough for a complete movie. The Soska sisters clearly have a little talent; they're going for the most ridiculous and they succeed at that. I'd gladly watch future work from them, but I really can't recommend this one.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site