Anna Scream Queen Killer
Dir. The Aquinas and Melanie Denholme (2013)
After an actress is forced to degrade herself during an audition, she gains the upper hand on her captor.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Melanie Denholme wrote, co-directed, and starred in this super-low-budget indie film about an actress going through the worst audition of all time. Denholme is fantastic in this film, and the film as a whole was pretty disturbing at points.
I want to get that part out of the way before critiquing a film that for most will have more misses than hits. Low budget is one thing, but this one has almost no plot besides Denholme showing off her acting range and portraying a random character going through seemingly random (and usually sexualized) scenes. More than anything, this is really a star vehicle for Denholme, but I don’t think that it has quite the impact that she wanted it to have. It is a slog to get through simply due to the lack of plot and disoriented storytelling, and will lose a lot of potential viewers because of these negatives, but it is disturbing as all hell at times and leaves you with an icky feeling in your brain. It is as if we are actually watching what the movie pretends to show, in the way that the best found footage films often feel. As harrowing as the events on-screen often are, Denholme does a marvelous job of making her character alternate between disgust and enjoyment. And because Denholme is truly stellar as the lead, it’s tough to cast too negative a view on the film as a whole. The ending is a bit rushed and unrealistic, but the rest of the film is a pretty grim look into the desperation of people looking to make it into the industry. God only knows how many times this has actually happened.