Like last year’s Bereavement, The Victim is less a horror movie than a testament to the joys of killing boobalicious sluts in tank tops. A similarly gross and incompetent horror quickie, The Victim follows Annie (Jennifer Blanc), a stripper (natch) who holes up with an embittered weirdo (writer-director Michael Biehn) while on the run from a sleazy cop who murdered her friend Mary (Danielle Harris), also a stripper (natch), during a rough doggie-style session gone awry.
The premise somewhat resembles one of horror writer Jack Ketcham’s collaborations with filmmaker Lucky McKee, in which American male-dominated society’s feign of gender equality is questioned through the means of a disquietingly brutal tale of unrelentingly grotesque sexual aggression. While The Woman, McKee and Ketcham’s most interesting endeavor, didn’t entirely evade the hypocrisy it was meant to criticize (the filmmakers were clearly as smitten with the prisoner’s yummy body as the wackos who tormented her), the film was still ambitious and occasionally effective. The Victim, however, is creepy in an entirely unintentional fashion.
Not much happens in The Victim, but the events that do manage to transpire consistently support a reading of the film as an older man’s fantasy of virility. In an early scene, the egomaniacal cop and one of his buddies do blow with Annie and Mary somewhere out in the woods, and while we’re theoretically meant to feel a mounting sense of dread for the girls, it’s clear that this moment primarily exists to allow viewers to drink in the young ladies’ tanned skin, fabulous breasts, and long legs; the cops’ leering is indistinguishable from Biehn’s. Later on, after a few badly staged run-ins with the psycho, Annie admits to the embittered weirdo that she’s always had a thing for older men, which leads to a laughably pointless encounter that affords viewers prolonged glimpses of Biehn’s impressive abs, as well as Blanc’s bare breasts and well-turned rump. And at the end, there’s an expected twist to confirm the film’s puny view of the world as being entirely populated by predators and whores. The Victim is the kind of movie that inspires nostalgia for the sophisticated scares and humanity of, say, a late-’80s Friday the 13th entry.