Look, it’s very simple: Liken a fat kid’s sexual organ to an acorn, and he’ll grow up to be a cross-dressing serial killer. Moonlight as a porn model for college tuition, and that serial killer will target you. The digital-age slasher Girlhouse says so.
With a freshly deceased dad and a hilt-mortgaged mom, coed Kylie (Ali Cobrin, The Hole) puts her Topeka-born, apple-pie good looks to use to pay the bills by stripping online to the delight of masturbators the world over — people like, per the screen names we glimpse, WoodWizard, Tugboat and Cream_Slinger. (Was regular ol’ “CreamSlinger” taken, thus forcing the underscore?)
And then there’s Loverboy (unimonikered Slaine, The Town), the aforementioned overweight murderer. When Kylie understandably gets creeped out by the hulking sociopath and spurns him during a private webcam session, Loverboy snaps, dons a costume that makes him look like the drag Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, grabs a crowbar, walks to the website’s headquarters house and, despite supposed Fort Knox-level security, starts whacking away at the naked ladies! Er, by that, I mean with the tool in his hand — um, yes, of course, the crowbar!
Minus the biggest cliché of the slasher subgenre, everything you’d expect to happen in Girlhouse happens. First-time director Trevor Matthews (star of the 2007 horror comedy Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) must have recognized this, and plastered the movie with scoops of female flesh to compensate for the lack of originality; the finale even rips off The Silence of the Lambs’ then-novel use of the night-vision POV.
Ironically, the fine Cobrin, so very nude in her breakthrough role in 2012’s American Reunion, is the one woman who doesn’t appear in the altogether. In a way, adhering to the rules of the subgenre, this makes sense; the Final Girl must be virginal, and compared to her housemates, she is. And compared to other stalk-and-stab exercises, Girlhouse is mighty slicker and easier on the eyes. —Rod Lott