Friday, June 23, 2017

Film Review: Ms. 45 (1981)

Ms. 45 (Review)
United States/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a dark, disturbing, and violent horror-thriller film."

After being raped twice in one day, a mute woman begins to roam the streets of New York City, randomly shooting the men who cross her path...

Ms. 45 is a simple but effective film. The plot follows Thana (Zoë Lund), a mute seamstress. One day after work, she finds herself walking home alone. During her walk, she's raped by a masked man with a gun. She goes home after the traumatizing experience only to find a burglar in her apartment—and that burglar rapes her as well. She's able to kill the burglar, though, and she finds herself in possession of his gun. She struggles to live with the murder, hoping to dispose of the body without raising any alarms. While doing so, however, she kills someone else. This leads her into a never-ending descent into murder and madness. She takes to the streets at night, aiming to kill the men in her path. It leads to a strong climax and a great ending.

Ms. 45 is a great film. It's a dark, disturbing, and violent horror-thriller film. It has a bleak and eerie atmosphere that chokes its audience. It has several truly disturbing scenes. The rape scenes are brief, but they still leave an impression. There's even a bit of black humor sprinkled on top. It's not graphically shocking—this isn't A Serbian Film or anything like that—but it is an effective story. The film isn't a deep character study, either, but it does sort of explore Thana's mind. Remember, she's mute so she can't say what she feels, but the film shows us her struggle through her facial expressions, her flashbacks, and her actions. For the most part, it works. I would have preferred a little more depth, but it doesn't ruin the film. The film isn't completely grounded in reality, either, for those who want something hyper-realistic. You'll ask yourself questions like: how did she learn how to use a gun with perfect accuracy? Again, not a big deal, but it's a minor issue.

The acting was great. Zoë Lund delivered a great performance as the leading lady. There isn't much of a supporting cast, but they were also fine. The film was shot well. The music was also great. The film was written by Nicholas St. John and directed by Abel Ferrara. As I already said, the writing was good—I enjoyed the story. A little more character for Thana would have gone a long way, though. Ferrara excels as the director, creating a dark and stylish thriller. He doesn't come off as heavy-handed or simple-minded, he really creates his vision without compromise.

Overall, Ms. 45 is a great film. It has a few issues, but it is ultimately a very dark and chilling film. If you like dark films, you'll enjoy this one.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex.

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