|Not a film about Juggalos....|
Someone I can't remember (probably either Confucius or Helen Steiner Rice) once said that there are no strangers, just friends we haven't met yet. If movies were people, "Demented" is like one of those friends you wish you'd never met. Annoying, cheap, loony, offensive, obnoxious, flaky, boring as hell...and yet, so insane that you have a crazy story to tell afterwards. It is something so questionable that I hesitate to even give it any attention. You may not want to encourage this new friend named "Demented" any further.
In the opening scene, Linda Rodgers (Sallee Young) is raped in a horse stable by four miscreants with stockings over their heads. One might think that a movie which dares to open with a gang rape scene might have something more substantial to say, but apparently a less explicit version of "I Spit On Your Grave" is what the filmmakers were going for here, since the rest of the movie is utterly lightweight and silly. Linda returns home from a "sanatorium" (their word, not mine) with her husband Matt, played by Harry Reems. Yes, the porn star Harry Reems, veteran of the notorious "Deep Throat" as well as numerous other porn flicks and stag reels. Here he proves that his porn career was probably the wiser choice, as he doesn't have any real acting chops. That's OK though, because Sallee Young has even less acting talent. She blows most of the dramatic moments by either whining in a nagging voice or reacting as if she's completely insane at any given moment, which kind of makes it hard to take a movie about rape and revenge seriously. Matt brings Linda home and seems to be devoted to her recovery, despite the fact that we later learn he's been dallying with some common tramp who apparently doesn't have any empathy for Linda and is only concerned about the fact that Matt is a doctor and has money she can siphon out of his bank account.
|See this? People keep "innocently" doing shit like this to Linda. Why would the gardener greet her like this?|
|"HEY, lady, nice wallpaper!"|
This is the main problem I had with "Demented," it walks a line between serious and ridiculous, and it stumbles back and forth between the two like a drunk performing an unsuccessful sobriety check. The opening rape scene is pretty harrowing, because here's this female character we don't know yet who is brutalized by four men at once. The shock value is short-lived though, because Sallee Young's performance is so off, the character's credibility quickly evaporates after she starts to have dialogue. Her delivery is shrill, especially in the scenes where she's supposed to be terrified and she goes up into this Minnie-Mouse-via-Katherine-Hepburn register of speaking. The scene where the four boys first attack her in her home ends up being laughable due to Young's absurd screaming. Remember the opening scene in "Blow-Out", where the co-ed in the shower opens her mouth and emits this ridiculous scream that deflates the entire scene? That's what's going on here, but for REAL. Shit like that happens, and then we have Harry Reems's character acting like a douche, leaving his traumatized wife all alone so he can go stick it to some gold digging lingerie model. Occasionally some effective moments get through, like when Linda confronts her final victim and cooks him a steak before killing him, asking him "Why were you so mean to me? Why didn't you stop?" Everyone was just so pathetically mean to Linda, and not only her rapists. But usually when she had any dialogue at all, I just wanted her to shut up, which made me feel like a bad person.
|"Huh? Are you telling me you can actually take lessons for acting?"|
|"I'm demented, and I LOVE it!"|