PERPETRATOR – Review by Leslie Combemale

What would it look like if a feminist filmmaker redefined the expression “girls gone wild?” The answer is in writer/director Jennifer Reeder’s stylish horror coming-of-age genre mashup Perpetrator, where Blood with a capital B, teen rebellion, and really trippy visuals are the order of the day. In Perpetrator, Reeder is posing a lot of questions about obsessions with beauty, age, gender norms, and femininity, loosely wrapped in a private schoolgirl story of survival and becoming. As they grow into adulthood, are young women monsters if they refuse to submit, to stay silent, or make how men (of any age) see them as their highest priority? Are they monsters if they refuse to be victims, stand up for each other, and strike back? The right answer would be “of course not!”, but in Perpetrator, Reeder makes this point: If we have to ask that question, there’s already a huge problem.

Read more

PERPETRATOR (Berlinale2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

House-breaking kleptomaniac Jonquil Baptise is known as Jonny to her friends – or, at least, she would be if she had any. With her relationship with her struggling, disconnected father in tatters, Jonny is sent to live with the long-estranged – and strange – Aunt Hildie (Alicia Silverston), who seems to know much more about the teenage girl than the latter is wholly comfortable with. Sent to a strict private school, Jonny learns quickly about a spate of recent disappearances in the area of girls her age. When people she knows begin to go missing, the supernatural powers unleashed on her 18th birthday adds a dramatic added dimension to how she and the women around her deal with living in a world where such nightmarish things can happen.

Read more