Ellis (Sam Mason-Bell) and Owens (Thomas Davenport) are documentarians who specialise in exploiting society's lower classes. For their latest documentary, they've decided to explore the life of a prostitute who caters for fetishes. Their subject is the attractive, voluptuous Siobhan (Tamsin Howland), who agrees to stay with them over the course of three days, in return for an undisclosed sum of money.
Ever the professional, pink-haired Siobhan takes her cash upfront upon arriving at Ellis's detached property. He acts as interviewer, while Owens handles cameraman duties. Ellis begins by asking Siobhan a couple of gently probing questions about her line of work. We learn that she's regularly called upon to provide action along the lines of anal, oral and domination themes.
It soon becomes apparent that Siobhan's fee includes demonstrating the gamut of her talents out on Ellis - all of which Owens plans to capture on camera. Unfazed, Siobhan is happy to follow both men upstairs and into the master bedroom, where she drops to her knees and gives Ellis a blowjob. This is followed by him doling a spot of light spanking to her, followed by anal sex. As she retires from the room to clean herself up, Owens quietly suggests to Ellis that he needs more stamina if they are to follow their plans through in their entirety ...
The evening brings with it booze, more flirtatious chat and a foray into humiliation. This involves Ellis spanking Siobhan some more, while calling her a "fucking cunt" and proceeding to rough-fuck her. She loves it.
The night ends with the boys indulging themselves by pissing all over the ever-obliging Siobhan.
More dirty talk around the breakfast table; more booze. More sex. Of course. Owens remains behind the camera, but Siobhan's attentions are beginning to visibly shift towards him. She's flirting rather heavily with him and he's almost coy in his responses.
By the afternoon, it's time for a second round of humiliation - at Siobhan's request. However, when the boys lead her up into the bedroom, she reveals that this time she wants to be the one doing the humiliating. Ellis isn't keen on the idea - she's the subject of the documentary, not him - but Owens encourages him to go along with it in the name of getting "the full experience".
Siobhan is quick to get super-rough with Ellis, using his own belt to gag him while she pulls his hair and rides him from behind. But things are about to get even more extreme, as she produces a knife she'd placed beneath the pillow earlier.
Jarred and injured, Ellis encourages Owens to take a walk out to the local pub for a couple of hours, so that he can spend some time alone with Siobhan. He's fuming and his intentions are clearly ignoble, but his colleague obliges regardless.
However, all is not what it seems and anything could happen by the close of Day Two. And we still have Day Three to go!
Portsmouth-born filmmaker Sam Mason-Bell has several shorts and features under his belt, and his experience proves invaluable when it comes to this micro-budget effort. Utilising a cast of three, a single setting and two cameras (as well as the documentary-style handheld camera, there is a more traditional shooting approach which captures the trio of actors at play), this is a great example of how a talented filmmaker can marry adroit editing, above-par performances and solid writing - from Mason-Bell and Howland - to elicit tension while keeping an eye on the economics.
First off, it appears that a lot of rehearsal has gone into this film. The actors seem extremely comfortable in their roles. Some dialogue is delivered in such a natural fashion that I'd wager it's been improvised, while the rapport between Mason-Bell and Davenport truly does suggest a long-spanning relationship. It's also interesting to note that Mason-Bell's character, while ostensibly the most reprehensible on the screen for the most part, is explored in fascinatingly candid style - to the point that he's almost relatable.
He also delivers what, to me, is one of the film's key lines of dialogue: "We've paid for her. We can do what we want". Does money equate to power? Siobhan admits she does what she does for the paycheck. There's a certain amount of ownership suggested, an expectancy which takes any semblance of humanity on Siobhan's part for granted.
Camera work is inventive. Soft-focus is used at appropriate times, not to obscure any detail but to lend a queasy nightmarish quality to key scenes. Elsewhere, the camera suggests just enough to unsettle us, but rarely enough to fall prey to accusations of excessiveness. Even the sex scenes begin quite discreetly, the nudity building gradually as the film develops (even then, there's more male nudity than female).
Special mention must also go to co-composers Oleg Hammel and Jon Youell. Their score is at equal turns ambient, rhythmic, sexy, sensual, industrial and haunting. It never intrudes, always enhances.
The story may sound familiar. Indeed, there are even a couple of compositions which bring to mind the likes of AMATEUR PORN STAR KILLER. But stick with this constantly engaging 61-minute shocker because it moves in surprising directions. Along the way we get to muse over the sexual politics of power and domination, and the philosophy that there may be a good reason why fantasies should remain precisely that. And then we reach the final act. The final act is genuinely creepy stuff.
INDUSTRIAL ANIMALS is available exclusively at present via Troma Now - Troma Entertainment's streaming service. Audio and visuals are both very good - clean, clear and consistent throughout playback.
You can check the film out at http://watch.troma.com (they're even offering a free trial at present).
I recommend checking INDUSTRIAL ANIMALS out, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it didn't go where I expected it to.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Troma|