(Magdalena From Delis, Damian Gallagher, Reinert Horneland, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Jimmi Salomonsen, et al / DVD / R / (2017) 2021 / Jinga Films - MVD Visual)
Overview: After being attacked by a crazed fan a famous crime writer isolates herself in her apartment.
Her best friend, a psychiatrist and the police attempt to help her recover from the assault, but overcome with paranoia she sees them as a threat and resorts to extreme violence to protect herself.
DVD Verdict: OK, what we have here is one of them there rape-revenge movies much akin to I Spit On Your Grave (the original), and others such as Ms. 45 and one that spins the wheel on the genre, the underrated Irreversible.
Lust succeeds at the rape-revenge elements, but fails at being scary. This would have been entirely fine had the film striven to be a pure rape-revenge (s)exploitation, but, rather, it tries to be both a horror and an exploitation, and ends up being what I would refer to as a headless chicken.
The first part of Lust is slow going. There are a few jump-scares as we are introduced to Lisa’s troubled existence of pills and alcohol. I won’t say too much about the plot here, but yes, she has been raped in the past and is now suffering from PTSD and delusions.
The second part, however, is more promising. In certain moments there is even true eeriness present, a rawness I haven’t seen in any Norwegian film to date.
But this drowns rather quickly in what I feel is the attempt to sustain a horror feel. Eskeland should have made the film a pure rape-revenge, focusing on the more traumatic aspects of the actual rape and on the subsequent revenge, as opposed to focusing on classic horror tension building.
The scene where Lisa vomits in the shower after trying to masturbate and get back a healthy association to sex, is a nice touch I would have liked to see more of, instead of her screaming in the mirror and attempting suicide and so on.
Indeed, to my mind, the film would do nicely with an extra rape scene of some length and a whole second act as the revenge part (cinematically speaking, of course).
Overall, Lust is worth watching for fans of the genre. Eskeland deserves respect for having the balls to go that extra mile with the violence compared to other Norwegian films (and to not make it completely tacky in the process).
But the extreme revenge scenes, that make up the core of rape-revenge films, were far too few and brief, in my humble opinion. That said, Lust is still a great effort and will hopefully pave the way for a true Norwegian tour de force of this genre at some point down the road. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Stills Compilation (7:16)
Behind the Scenes (27:34)