Billed as a “Halloween-style” slasher movie for the internet age, GirlHouse does eventually become a slasher, although that’s only really in its final act. For most of the movie, it exudes a level of creepiness somewhere around the level of a painting whose eyes follow you. We have to deal with far too many unimportant characters, a bland relationship, and a creepy basement-dweller who will eventually become out villain. It plays like an uncensored Big Brother, and then a killer is dropped into the mix.
Our lead is Kylie Atkins (Ali Cobrin), a college student whose father dies and therefore decides that, in order to pay for tuition — student loans don’t exist, after all — she is going to go live in a house full of girls whose every move is streamed online. They’re not forced to do anything, but the sexier they are and the more hits they get, the more they get paid. The location is hidden, the site is “unhackable,” and the pay is substantial. So, there you go.
A very large chunk of the movie doesn’t really follow much of a plot. Kylie gets recognized on the site by someone she used to go to school with, so he goes to her college, “runs” into her, and they begin a relationship. Our eventual villain, “Loverboy” (Slaine), watches the girls, and then slowly becomes evil. The girls go about their business, which the film hopes is fun for us to watch, and maybe will for the Big Brother crowd. And then we drop a masked slasher villain into the mix and watch most of the girls die a bloody, gruesome death.
Most of the movie is so uninvolving that the conclusion — the actual slasher portion — comes as a relief and a joy. It works because in comparison what we’ve seen beforehand is so bad that it’s easy to actually root that these girls get killed. They’re not even bad people; we don’t know enough about them to form that sort of conclusion. They exist in the movie for the premise to work and for some “sexy” scenes. They’re here to be ogled at and then murdered.
The villain’s motivation is silly, and includes a ridiculously over-the-top scene to open the movie in which he, as a child, gets humiliated by a couple of young girls. So, of course, he loses all sense of social skills and secretly wants to kill all women. He fixates on Kylie because she’s the protagonist. Everyone in this movie is so simplistic that you have to wonder if the people who made it had ever seen a movie which featured characters with any semblance of depth — because the characters in this movie do not even have that.
But you’re here for the peep show, and you’re here for the kills. There isn’t as much nudity as you probably expect, given the premise. Much of it winds up “tastefully” hidden, too; this isn’t a smutty movie. There are some fun kills, but apart from maybe one of them, they’re also pretty tame. They just happen to be a whole lot more fun than the rest of the movie, and therefore come across as good as a result. GirlHouse wanting to be compared to Halloween is hilarious, though, as that’s not the type of film to which it should want to draw comparisons.
Ali Cobrin is our lead and about the only actor whom audience members will remember when the film is over, if only because she’s on-screen the most. Slaine is the villain, although he’s given a mask for the slasher part and may or may not even be played by Slaine at that point. The boyfriend is played by Adam DiMarco who kind of looks like a young Jason Biggs, which I hope was done intentionally given that Cobin and Biggs had scenes together in American Reunion. That also distracted me. None of the other girls make any sort of impact, and neither do any of the other actors. Nobody’s good here, but it’s not an “actor” movie, anyway.
GirlHouse is a mediocre movie in which a slasher villain is dropped into a sexier Big Brother-style setup. It’s nowhere near as interesting as that sounds. It lacks in story and in characters, and only becomes even slightly fun once the killing starts — and that’s only because the rest is so boring that any sort of action feels like a treat. You could do a lot worse than GirlHouse, but it’s not ultimately worth your time.