JULIA X (2011)
Directed by P.J. Pettiette
Available to rent and download from TheHorrorShow.TV
JULIA X is a horror thriller that deals with the risks of internet dating, but quickly swaps the story from a run-of-the-mill B-movie horror with an unexpected twist. From there on, the movie ventures into cat-and-mouse territory where the need for bloodshed is mixed with sexual lust and some troubled abusive secrets from the past. Three quarters of the movie become essentially a comedy torture-thriller, filled with humour, vicious attacks and two hot blondes. Whilst it’s mildly entertaining at the beginning, especially with the unexpected twist, it soon becomes a tired exercise with the story lulling in mid-air and leading nowhere fast.
Kevin Sorbo, who’s mostly known for his role as Hercules in the titular television series, stars as the handsome stranger who sweeps Julia off her feet. His true personality rears its ugly head fairly quickly which is when the suave stranger suddenly turns out to be a not-so-bright serial killer who loves nothing more than listening to The Carpenters’ track, “Close to You” on his mp3 player. Whilst handy with his fists, he seems to give little credit to the abilities of his captive, Julia (Valerie Azlynn), a woman who starts off as the typical screaming, hopeless victim but soon becomes a sharp cookie that runs rings around her abducter.
Whilst the film has a few good ideas and a shock twist, it descends into the black comedy and torture genres too easily. It could have been really clever and handled it in a serious tone but chose the comedy route instead. Granted, it does have a few great scenes between the two leads but after a while it becomes a bit monotonous and just doesn’t offer much more than what we’ve already seen.
JULIA X is shot pretty well and the action scenes between Julia and the stranger are pretty visable compared to other B-movies, some of which will make you cringe (the face punches made me wince). A sexual aura is given to the movie, hiring a cast of attractive people and using their sexuality as one of the main driving forces of the violence depicted within the storyline. What ensues is a believable ‘relationship’ which you could genuinely describe as love/hate, or rather love/kill.
A cameo from actor Ving Rhames towards the end of the movie will raise a laugh, but ultimately JULIA X is just another torture thriller.