Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

The gloriously unsubtle is basically the bread and butter of the Sydney Underground Film Festival (which, by the time you read this, will possibly be finished for the year). Every time I’ve gone to see what they’re showing, most of their films are some level of bonkers, no ifs ands or buts. Well, it looks like someone’s stealing the show and decided to be the most bonkers thing around… ok second most bonkers, you can’t top Ninja Badass.

Bad Girls follows a trio of women, Valinda Washington (Morgan Shaley Renew), Mitzi Anne Chandler (Sanethia Dresch) and Carolyn Hills (Shelby Lois Guinn) who start their night by robbing a strip club which starts the wildest and most violent adventure of their lives. With nothing but a car, a pack of guns, a duffel bag full of money and cocaine, the trio make their way across the country while being chased by Special Agent Cannon (Mike Amason).

As they make their way across the country to try and get to the border, they will rob and kidnap and kill anyone who gets between them and their end goal… unless they get held up by trying to see Christmas Tits, then all bets are off.

Bad Girls is about as subtle as a brick to the face but it’s far more enjoyable than that would be. It starts as big and bold as it can go, the opening 15 minutes is pure unbridled insanity and if you make it through that then you’re set for the rest of the film. It’s loud and it’s tacky and it’s tasteless as hell, but it’s all intentional and done purely to entertain a very specific audience.

Some films build up to their most extreme imagery, Bad Girls throws it up right off the bat and demands you get ready for some of the most insane shit it can come up with.

"Bad Girls", Sanethia Dresch, Morgan Shaley Renew, Shelby Lois Guinn
“Bad Girls”, Sanethia Dresch, Morgan Shaley Renew, Shelby Lois Guinn

The Russ Meyer influence on Bad Girls isn’t even subtle, he might as well have a posthumous co-writer credit because this feels like it belongs with his eclectic group of films about bad women doing bad things. It’s taking that genre of film and modernising it as much as possible, making the women even more shocking and the men pathetic or disgusting in such a gloriously over the top way that it becomes hilarious.

It’s delightful seeing how far they’ll push these characters to just being completely irredeemable, most of them are not the kind of people you’d want to spend an hour and a half with but it’s fun to watch these bad people doing very bad things.

Bad Girls certainly opens as big and bold as it can get (as in a baby gets blown up with a bullet from a double barrel shotgun levels of “Big and bold”)… the downside is that it never really hits that high again at any point. The opening 15 minutes is certainly the most insane part of the film but after that it feels like they realise they can’t top it so choose to slow down.

Bad Girls is still a lot more intense than other films, might even be too much for a lot of people, but it’s a notable energy and tone drop for the middle part of the film that honestly was just kinda slow until the climax where things picked up again. The film is at its absolute best when it’s unapologetically shocking and when it tries to be anything approaching calm, it just feels weird.

Bad Girls is gloriously unsubtle, unruly and unbelievably fun. With some over the top performances, a ton of shocking violence, some cool cars and some hilariously cheesy dialogue, Bad Girls is a loving tribute to exploitation classics that sometimes misses the mark but always provides at least some entertainment which is all you want in a film like this.

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