Director: Eric Williford
Starring: Cori Collins, Katie O., Jody Taylor, Glen Roberts, Daniel Florenzano
All She Wanted Was To Be A Model!
College student Ivy Winters (Cori Collins) wants nothing more than to become a professional model. What she does not know is how hard she’ll have to work to get what she wants. After Ivy and new found friend Toni (Katie O.) botch up their opportunity to make it big by getting wasted at a prestigious party, the scramble to maintain fame becomes an exercise in depravity. Naivety has no place in a world where everyone is looking for the next best thing and sometimes dreams become nightmares.
What’s a good horror film without a bit of female flesh to force the blood to pump harder and mind to race in excitement? Movies from the 70s and 80s knew how to entice their viewers with scenes of playful seduction and suggested sex. There is something to be said about the draw of lust and violence, an animal urge to bear witness to primitive impulse and uninhibited acts. Unfortunately, Bikini Mayhem’s end does not justify the means to get there.
Although an old theme, the obsession of fame and fortune for young, aspiring stars is still relevant, and, unless independent artists suddenly change places with what’s popular, inadvertently changing the definition of popular forever, a theme that will never go away.
What Eric Williford does right with the film is to address some of the shady, seedy acts that must be committed along the road to popularity in order to maintain any sense of success. Drug abuse and sexual exploitation are consistent throughout the film, even though Ivy never truly seems to delve much deeper than softcore fetishes or slightly humiliating photo shoots. More focus on her descent into desperation and less suggestive photo ops may have given Bikini Mayhem a stronger horror vibe overall.
As to be expected (but not always true) with low budget films, the actors never quite hit a necessary connection with the audience in order to truly invest viewers in not only the characters, but the plot as well. Despite amateur acting skills, I felt that the actors had a great time filming Bikini Mayhem, and therefore feel that the point of the film was not to make a cinematic masterpiece, but to enjoy creating something trashy and entertaining. In addition, the slightly electronic soundtrack is reminiscent of 80’s synth and gives several scenes a much needed boost of energy, but the overall sound quality is rough, especially lacking clarity during times when the scenes are shot from a distance or the actors have their backs turned to the camera.
Even when Ivy is faced with uneven odds, she never seems to feel as though her life is getting worse, but instead offers up tired, bored expressions or indifferent sighs. The hyper-sexualized model and actor/actress lifestyle should be a dark, terrifying place for someone that has never been there before, and even after a bit of experience has been earned an even more intense journey through rejection and body image expectations. This concept is hinted at throughout the film, but never fully realized. Recent genre film Starry Eyes offers a similar spin from a much grimmer perspective and with a stronger spiral into acceptance of what the protagonist must become to survive.
As a horror film, Bikini Mayhem falls short of what it promises. Though the heart and enjoyment behind making a film is apparent, it never quite lives up to the catchy, slasher vibe of the poster. I was entertained while watching it, perhaps more by the curvy ladies posing seductively for almost the entire running time than by the story or end game, and as a fan of all things horror recommend this if only for the sake of saying that you’ve seen it or to entertain a bit of your inner pervert. Bikini Mayhem is sexy but restrained in a world where extremes are the desired norm.
You can download the film on Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bikinimayhem
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