A young prostitute (Rodleen Getsic) is having a hard time making a living, blowing half of her hard-earned cash on drugs and getting robbed of the other half by her clients. Most days she’s wandering around towns giving occasional blow-jobs and snorting illegal substances up her pretty nose. One day she’s so fucked up, she ends up raped by her client, who then tears through her backpack and steals all her money. With no pimp to protect her and nothing to eat she is forced to hop on the first truck she sees. The guy (Jeff F. Renfro) seems all right. They share some coke. He starts getting weird. He touches her inappropriately. She tells him to stop. He doesn’t. She passes out. He locks her up in the back of his truck. She wakes up. He is torturing her. There is no escape. They’re in the desert, nobody can hear her scream. He shaves her head, films her, chains her, puts a mask on her, leaves her naked on the floor: The bunny game begins.
It’s rather unclear to me what the actual “bunny game” really is, but it seems to involve leather masks and running around the desert half-naked. I am totally fine with not having everything being explained to the audience: Just leave it to our imagination! The film isn’t really interested in making a point: It’s telling a story. The story is told mostly through visual means. There is hardly any spoken dialogue (and no voice-overs). The beautifully mesmerizing black and white imagery edited in music video style is eloquent enough to keep the viewer engaged. Adam Rehmeier’s The Bunny Game reminded me a lot of Lukas Moodysson’s Container, although the narrative here is much more straightforward and traditional. Tonally, there are a lot of similarities however. Much like Moodysson, Rehmeier is making a statement about how our society has come to view sexuality and entertainment. Luckily, his message is not thrown in your face in an obvious and annoying way. Once again it’s up to the viewer to decide what to make of it.
What I take away from a movie like The Bunny Game is its unorthodox approach to horror and filmmaking. It’s an American film, but it feels very European in the way it’s shot, edited and constructed. Rodleen Getsic‘s brave and committed performance really helps you buy into the film’s premise. The one problem I had with the film is that after a while it becomes a little repetitive. Not much happens, which is fine, but it’s not easy to portray psychological torture. Rehmeier tries to do it’s best to create an uneasy atmosphere through lighting, score and editing, but at the end of the day I’m not so sure he’s as successful as he wanted to be. Still, The Bunny Game is an impressive horror film that doesn’t underestimate its viewers and is able to achieve a lot on a shoestring budget. Actually, it is impressive how the film’s low-budget is never distracting or apparent. In fact the film looks a lot better than so many generic blockbusters. All in all, a film I recommend if you enjoy black & white photography, horror movies and art house cinema.
Rating on First Viewing
(on my laptop)
7 out of 10