Directed by Arthur Jeffreys [Other horror films: N/A]
I didn’t really know anything about this before jumping into it, and in fact I described it to my rabid Twitter followers as a “rape-revenge” film, which Demented really isn’t. I don’t know if Demented is a terrible movie, but it’s definitely a film I have mixed feelings on.
Firstly, the rape takes place a minute and a half into the film, and luckily, it’s not too explicit. I Spit on Your Grave didn’t spare the audience anything, but this one is done and over with in about a minute, which I was definitely okay with. What I was less than thrilled about was the drama that followed.
Not that it’s the worst idea in the world, following a woman who suffered a gang-rape after she’s released from a psychiatric hospital, and it’s not without a few “scary” moments (those hallucinations and night prowlers), but I wasn’t exactly excited by the content, and though I was still marginally invested, I can’t say that I wasn’t bored at times.
Things really pick up toward the final thirty minutes once the woman, for lack of a better word, snaps, and started going after some night prowlers as though they were the men who raped her (as she’s insane at the time, and more so, has every right to defend herself in her own home, I can’t say that I once felt any sympathy for any of these assholes). We get some good scenes, and the acting strikes me as better. I just wish they had gone a different direction, but whateves.
Sallee Young takes on a complex role and does fine. I think her performance is definitely shaky at points, almost laughably so, but after her character is gang-raped, who’s to say how she should act, and I can’t hold any of it against her. Playing her husband, Harry Reems (who was in the unpleasantly hairy Forced Entry) was fine as a very assholeish guy, cheating on his wife with Kathryn Clayton’s character. I did legitimately enjoy Bryan Charles’ doctor character, but he didn’t have any screen-time toward the end, which was a shame.
Demented isn’t a film I liked, but I do think that it got better toward the end, which certainly still possesses it’s fair share of somewhat silly, if not downright offensive, scenes of Young’s character turning the tables on her would-be rapists and seducing them, to their confusion. She even ties one down and has a lengthy, rather distracted and manic conversation with, much to the young man’s displeasure.
Before that point, though, I think the film bordered on boring for a pretty long time, and though I enjoyed aspects of the conclusion, I don’t know if it warrants the first hour of the film, and so I’d say that if you want to see a slightly different take on rape/revenge, Demented might be worth considering, but I don’t think this will ever top anyone’s list.
2 thoughts on “Demented (1980)”