Julia meets someone for a date and then falls victim to a brutal gang rape. Alone and suffering, she discovers a form of alternative therapy that seeks to take back the power from the aggressors.
Writer and director Matthew A Brown has previously described Julia as a ‘radical and stylish neon noir revenge thriller/horror’. For me, this is a perfect description. Filmed almost entirely in the murky winter nights of New York, Julia is multi layered which only films like ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ could scratch the surface. It is very stylistic with its use of imagery, beautifully shot scenes and a great accompanying alternative soundtrack.
There are a few recognisable faces in this film. Ashley C Williams, who plays Julia, will undoubtedly be recognised from her role in The Human Centipede. Tahyna Tozzi from X Men Origins: Wolverine plays Julia’s girlfriend Sadie. Then we have Joel de la Fuente from Hemlock Grove as Dr Lin.
Ashley C Williams performance is outstanding. Her character is not weighed down by heavy dialogue but her eyes can tell a thousand stories. I could feel her emotions through the blink of an eye and a slight turn in the head. Plus as Julia evolves throughout the film you can sense the changes in her character. Tahyna Tozzi is equally mesmerising. She is not only very striking to look at but also demonstrated her character as having a true strength and clear vulnerability.
Films of this type will always cause some sort of controversy because for most the subject matter is difficult to watch. From what I have read so far on the Internet it would seem that the film Julia has placed the issues of gender politics firmly on the table. Some viewers have felt offended that it portrays men in a bad light. The male characters in the film are misogynistic and viewers are aggrieved that men are being depicted as monsters. Some on the other hand, have found the rape scene to be too difficult to watch and one man apparently passed out during a castration scene. As a female I didn’t feel offended by Julia as I felt that it wasn’t exploitative. There was a reason for each characters decision and every decision made had a consequence.
Julia is distinctive from many of the films that are out there at the moment. It is very dark and brooding but one which will evoke many emotions. Having only been credited with four short films this is Matthew A Brown’s first feature. Technically it is far superior from other Indie films and it has had a positive response within the festival circuit. I feel that Brown is already starting out as a heavy weight in the horror genre and I am seriously looking forward seeing his next film.
Words by Amanda Hunt @man-ders11