Bad Reputation (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 20, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Maverick Entertainment (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.78:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 5.1. Spanish Subtitles. 90 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jim Hemphill
Starring: Angelique Hennessy, Jerad Anderson, Danielle Noble, Mark Kunzman
Screenplay: Jim Hemphill
Country: USA
Bad Reputation tells the tale of quiet wallflower type Michelle Rosen (Angelique Hennessey) who is quite the loner, and easily manipulated. When jock Aaron (Jerad Anderson) asks her to a party, she hesitates at first, but eventually agrees. Aaron invited her out to make his girlfriend jealous, and when Michelle doesn't come across with the goods, he slips her a roofie, and takes her to an upstairs bedroom where he and one of his football buddies rape her. The girlfriend's of the jock figure out that they have screwed her, but instead of thinking 'rape' they think 'slut' and sully her name throughout the school. This of course, incenses Michelle, and she proceeds to change her image from 'nerdy' to 'tarty' and slices a big piece of revenge pie for all those who crossed her…

Bad Reputation's biggest problem is that is doesn't know what it wants to be: is it a morality play, a slasher, a rape/revenge? It can't seem to make up its mind and therefore is an unfortunate mishmash of all. This film wasn't made by some ignorant director though. Writer/Director Jim Hemphill is a film critic and journalist who really seems to know his stuff, he has, after all, written for Film Critic and American Cinematographer!! His intentions with this film were valid. Obviously sick of the throw away cookie-cutter characters that most horror films give us, he has attempted to flesh out his characters, but sadly this makes it less of a horror film and more of an after school special about the dangers of drugs, rape and killing your friends. There is no doubt the cruel acts performed on the lead are soul-destroying and probably close to what high school girls are capable of doing, but the 'killing turn' of the lead almost seems to come as a surprise, except for the fact the DVD cover quite clearly shows our little vixen ready to annihilate. The dialogue is at times awkward and occasionally lifted from other films (Michelle's comment: 'I'm a Safety Girl' is clearly 'borrowed' from pro-prostitution morally corrupt romantic-comedy Pretty Woman).

The film also seems overlong. Some of the scenes seem to linger unnecessarily: for example, our victim/victor Michelle goes to the door of our jock/rapist's house after she's been raped and humiliated to get her handbag back. She knocks on the door, he answers, she asks for her bag, and we are treated to an extended scene of her waiting at the front door, with nothing happening, until the guy returns with her bag. Surely this scene could have been cut short, or out completely!

At the risk of sounding like a pervert, I also have to say that if I see a rape/revenge flick…I want nudity. All of the acts are performed under both the cover of darkness and/or the cover of clothing. Bummer! He has, however, replaced nudity with plenty of dirty talk, including the 'C' word that Grandma doesn't know, which occurs more as if to make this film seem adult, but comes across as infantile.

The DVD cover blurbs claims it has received many awards, but I really cannot see why.
This picture for this film is muddier than a toddler's nappy, the murder scenes may be bloody, but you can't see a thing! The movie is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and is not 16:9 enhanced.
The sound is in 5.1 surround, but is mixed atrociously. The voices at time seem to be recorded so loud over background noise that they seem out of place and the sound effects of the violence scenes are over the top ridiculous.
Extra Features
Nothing but trailers for: Distortion, Death by Engagement, Tweek City, The Brink, The Champagne Gang and Cult.
The Verdict
Tragically, I wanted a new I Spit On Your Grave but was sadly disappointed. If you have a teenage daughter, this is probably a good film to show her so she will realize that all boys are evil and all girls are cruel, but that lesson is probably better taught by something like Mean Girls. I don't think that anyone should avoid this film, but don't strain yourself seeking it out either.
Movie Score
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