The Executioners Movie Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Written and directed by Giorgio Serafini
2018, 93 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on March 27, 2018
Jemma Dallender as Belle
Natalie Burn as Kay
Anna Shelids as Lory
Rachel Rosenstein as Angela
Here’s the thing with The Executioners; the plot has been done countless times. In the vein of the exploitation home invasion and rape/revenge sub-genres that started with classics like The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave, The Executioners is similarly about four women seeking solace at a gorgeous lakeside home, only to be prayed upon by three male intruders covered in face paint. Although there is redundancy in the setup, which does not automatically cast the film to the dud pile, there is a fresh gust blowing through this effort. In fact, when the film wraps up, all the gratuitous torture preceding the finale deems fit.
There are many successes to the film, particularly in the production department. The motion pictures are a visually cinematic and look professional, which was a bonus when a B-quality flick is expected. The images that unfold are crisp but don’t have that “home movie” look to it. The editing adds to the superb pacing by director, Giorgio Serafini, which also works hand in hand with the symphonic score. The conflict may be familiar, but the tension rising and falling is still ever present— and that’s the shit that grabs the soul. The combination of all these production values pays off and puts The Executioners on a higher tier than your typical VOD release.
In lieu with the production is the casting. The players put on a respectable performance, lead by Jemma Dallender as Belle. She is our leading lady and her choices (and her sanity) become questionable throughout the film. Her three friends, Kay (Natelie Burn), Lory (Anna Shields) and Angela (Rachel Rosenstein), take the brunt of the torture and emotions become body-hugging and murky when on display. The camera does not always pan away, leaving viewers to experience repulsive shockwaves. There is sexual violence that ensues, and these ladies (both the characters and the actors) are resilient women. Regardless of being staged, it’ll make one squirm; it’s a kick in the gut. The shudders from the antagonists are in their demeanor and appearance. Dominating the second act, they’re designated by colored paint (Mr. Red, Mr. Blue and Mr. Black) covering their heads and hair. All three men are hulking and have the WWE physique, adding to their devious appearance. Their engagements are vile and the actors’ performances are decent, but like the core of the plot, they’re characters we’ve seen before. The sources of the revolting actions are not just from the men, and some may be letting out cheers at points.
Although the The Executioners is a successful genre effort, especially since revenge on film can go to places where it shouldn’t in real life, others may be repelled by the content (whether the gratuitous nature or the redundancy). And one of the characters acknowledges that, which is a positive detail that adds to the practicality of the events. Before the shit hits the fan, while sharing scary stories around a fire, one of the women declares, “…if you know their motives, you can convince yourself it will never happen to us.” But this can happen to us, so easily. I may listen to way too many True Crime podcasts, but it just takes a couple of sick bastards to kick in the door of a secluded lakeside cabin and change one’s life forever.