People keep asking for more realistic views in films about serious problems that affect every single one of us, and someone finally delivered. With that in mind, from Directors Patrick Kennelly (Ten Minutes Is Two Hours 2013, Clipping.- Body & Blood 2014) and Sigrid Gilmer comes a film many would not ever dream of releasing to the public, entitled Excess Flesh. Starring Bethany Orr (Winner 2012, Agorable 2012), Mary Loveless (Wrong Cops 2013, Felix Blithedale 2014), and Wes McGee (Devious Maids 2015, Bridge of Spies 2015), Excess Flesh is a film everyone is talking about for its absolute honesty. Teetering on a variety of genres from Drama, to Thriller, to Horror, and even Action, Excess Flesh bring so many cards to the table, and it is not afraid to reveal fear, anger, hate, and gore to the public. Premiering at South by Southwest on March 13, 2015, the film finds its way to DVD and VOD as of March 8, 2016 via Midnight Releasing, ready to strike a broader audience.
There has been many stories of how the modeling industry has a vision of how the human body should look like. For some, this is ok because healthy eating is important. For others, this is a reason to go insane and start torturing your best friend, who happens to be a skinny model. Jill (Orr) and Jennifer (Loveless) are two best friends that share both an apartment and a sick friendship—healthy to them—and try to live in a world where fashion and eating disorders run their lives. Jill and Jennifer are both beautiful, but it is obvious that Jill is obsessed with Jennifer and thus tries to control her. Jill likes Rob (McGee) and Jennifer knows this too well, but Jennifer also has a tendency to do what she wants after she told herself no one was going to hurt her anymore after her abusive ex-husband. While Jennifer parties her life away and has sex with multiple men, Jill just throws up by forcing a finger down her throat.
Throughout the movie, the audience sees how different, yet similar these girls are. They both have red hair, they both have a love/hate relationship, and they both like the same guy, but only one of them is wild enough to actually do something about that guy. When Jill sees that Jennifer and Rob betray her and Jennifer does not take her seriously, Jill decides enough is enough. Feeling sick from this whole situation, Jill chains Jennifer to the wall and forces her to feel, little by little, what she felt for all those years.
There are so many clues and details that a smart person would notice throughout Excess Flesh that seems to explain this story with a different approach. After days and days of complete seclusion, Jennifer can no longer feel her body. While Jennifer is experiencing physical torture, Jill has to deal with her drunk mother, which suggests that Jill’s childhood was not that well of an upbringing to begin with. We get a scene straight out of Jill’s head about how she is excelling at everything she does, whilst Jennifer’s popularity is slowly going down the drain; this key scene explains about 35% of the entire movie. Will Jennifer be able to escape her tormentor, or will Jill take one last stab that will end Jill’s life?
When Jennifer physically treated Jill like complete garbage, Jill lets all her rage loose. This brought quiet, into-herself Jill to the point of insanity. Why does Jennifer get to have all the fun? Why does she get to have any guy she wants? Jill and Jennifer’s body are not that different from one another, but in their minds, they are complete opposites. Kennelly was brave enough to tackle topics such as eating disorders and the modeling industry, and finally gave people the understanding of how things are handled in fashion. More and more, fashion designers are changing their views on how a female body should look, and are embracing the normal, everybody-is-different ways of seeing things, but this is still a big problem in our society.
All in all, Excess Flesh brings the horror to another level. Although the photography is very well done, Excess Flesh does have slow moments, but when viewers finally get to catch the final story’s twist, they will ultimately be extremely satisfied. With the tagline “If Jill can’t be Jennifer, she must destroy her,” Excess Flesh is one of those films that people rent out of curiosity and are amazed to have found a hidden Horror gem that not only surpasses our expectations, but also creates consciousness in our society. CrypticRock gives Excess Flesh 4.5 out of 5 stars.