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‘Bad Girls’ review: Grindhouse flick is explosive fun

“Thank Heaven for little girls.”

It may sound silly, but exploitation films do not get the same respect they used. They are now looked at as relics of the 1970s that are an odd part of film history. Bad Girls is a loving throwback to that era. The drug fueled grindhouse release follows three girls who are on the run from the law. The story is violent, filled with loud music, and over the top action. 

Due to expectations, grindhouse films will appeal to a very specific audience. They often play to the lowest common denominator and are about visceral thrills. Bad Girls is no different. The violence is graphic and the dialogue is peppered with sexual references. There is no innuendo or subtlety here; the script is straight and to the point.

Though there is plenty of it, Bad Girls is more than just sex, drugs, and violence. There is something of a story going on. As the trio try to make their way across the border to Mexico, they take detours that involve fulfilling some of their wildest dreams. In its own hazy way, it becomes about love. It is not fully developed, but this does add more to the characters.

Bad Girls (2021 Movie) Full Trailer from Christopher Bickel on Vimeo.

The film has a very obvious anti-authority message. This leads to plenty of caricatures and some forced humor. It helps get the point across, but it also leads to some poor writing. This is seen in most in the scenes between the cops that are chasing the titular gang. This is a staple of grindhouse films and it brings a charming quality to Bad Girls.

Music is also a very important part of the film. Some of it can be very jarring, but for the most part, it adds to Bad Girls. The songs are chaotic and fast paced. There is not a moment of silence in director Christopher Bickel’s film. An overlooked part of grindhouse movies is the acting. The best ones are able to stand apart thanks to performances. In this case, Morgan Shaley Renew as the leader of the gang Val is amazing. She is a mix of no nonsense rebel and vulnerable little girl. It makes for a surprisingly layered character that is fun to watch.

Grindhouse films are easily dismissed by some audiences. It is not hard to see why as these films can be abrasive due to the extreme violence, rough language, and obnoxious attitude. Bad Girls embraces all of these qualities. It is also is an fast paced story that does not give audiences a chance to look away. It is trashy, loud, and a lot of fun.

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