2023 101 mins
“A very welcome return for one of the most original and fearless genre directors working today” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ
“Funny, freaky, and full of feeling... Reeder’s genrefied feminist flick is a big deal” – Anton Bitel, SIGHT & SOUND
“You have the eyes of someone much older.” In a city where images of missing girls adorn lampposts across town, 17-year-old Jonny (Kiah McKirnan) has grown up used to fending for herself. As her 18th birthday approaches, her father becomes increasingly nervous and sends her to live with her mysterious aunt Hilda (Alicia Silvertone) for an undetermined period. Jonny’s been having unusual physiological conditions for some time. A strange murmur, for one, that sounds as if she has two hearts. Perhaps even three. Through Hilda, she will learn about her family’s darkest miracles as her body begins to change and unimagined powers bloom. High school’s about to become significantly more interesting. And the perpetrator of the disappearances that plague her town will have a new kind of adversary to fear.
It’s always cause for celebration when Jennifer Reeder (KNIVES AND SKIN
) makes something new. Vibrant with her signature dreamy-droll merging of tones, PERPETRATOR
is at once a gruesome coming-of-age fantasy crossed with teen rebellion dramedy, a mystical queer feminist genre kaleidoscope, and an otherworldly body-horror vision that bleeds with transgressive surrealism. At its heart it’s a supernatural celebration of agency with genrefied perspectives on bodily autonomy and female friendships, using horror to touch on the memories women inherit across generations while gorily addressing societal systems that seek to destroy them. It’s also wildly funny, with satirical quasi-camp edges that spike as entertainingly as they surprise. All awash in a mesmerizing score from Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, with inventive visuals from Sevdije Kastrati and a super up-for-it cast that includes the welcome return of Ireon Roach. A poetic and anarchic work that rides waves of haunted teen emotions, PERPETRATOR
is a bloody beautiful horror creation that shares its hero’s attraction to rebellion in the most exciting ways. – Mitch Davis