Director: Adam Rehmeier (2010)
Starring: Rodleen Getsic, Jeff Renfro, Norwood Fisher
Find it: IMDB
This is the film that The Human Centipede 2 wishes it was. Hearing that it was denied a UK release by the BBFC immediately put it on my radar. Like that other infamous film, August Underground, I wish I hadn't bothered. When the film opened with a sloppy blowjob scene, I knew it wouldn't be my cup of tea. I prefer my tea without spermatozoon, thanks.
Like The Human Centipede 2, the film is entirely black and white and features characters performing bizarre sexual acts on one another. There's shit in The Bunny Game that they'd even balk at on Fetlife. Prostitute Bunny (the aptly named Rodleen Getsic) accepts a lift from a deranged trucker. You don't need to be Jeremy Clarkson to know that this is a bad idea, but hey, Bunny is desperate. The trucker spends the next few days torturing Bunny and making her play his sick, depraved games. He's a terrible antagonist, crying and screaming, huffing plastic bags like a low-rent Dennis Hopper. She meanwhile, gets by far the worse end of the bargain, all ball gags, crappy haircuts and ridiculous masks. To criticise is unfair though: don't hate the playa, as they say, hate the game.
As I watch more and more of this nonsense, it becomes increasingly difficult to review films like The Bunny Game. I mean, there are only so many ways to write "she gets tied up and tortured". Occasionally I have to say things like "newborn porn" or "the centipede goes up his arse" or "he puts a stupid rabbit gimp mask on her head" but mostly it's like reviewing the same film over and over again. It's a sad state of affairs when the edgiest thing a horror movie can do these days is have a happy ending. Just for once, I'd like to be able to write something along the lines of "and then the bad man realised that he was acting like a bit of a dickhead. He let the nice prostitute go and sought psychiatric help. Then he apologised to the S&M community for perpetuating negative stereotypes."
Like so many other controversial slash banned movies, The Bunny Game is perfectly competent. It's well acted, looks good (in a surrealist sort of way) and has a properly unsettling vibe. Had it the bravery to tell a story about something other than rape, I would probably have enjoyed it. It's a great film wasted on a shitty story. There are only so many stories one can tell about perverted men acting out their fantasies upon unwilling victims. And I don't want to see any of them. Dude, she's a prostitute. If you were to just pay her, I'm sure she'd let you tie her up and do whatever anyway.
It's easy to see why the BBFC wanted none of this. Since almost every moment of the film features some variety of sexual violence or other, there's literally nothing that could have been cut, save for ten seconds in the middle where our dirty trucker leans against a wall for a bit. There's a time and a place for pieces like The Bunny Game. Maybe an art gallery or Chris Brown's dressing room. These aren't films to be enjoyed; they're here to be endured. I have a friend who loves rollercoasters but hates horror movies. I hate rollercoasters but love horror movies. She asked me how I can bear to watch the gory bollocks I do. To me, horror movies are like mental rollercoasters. You have nice log flume rollercoasters (like Scream or A Nightmare On Elm Street), fast rollercoasters (Saw, Hostel) and then you have the fucking horrible ones (The Bunny Game, August Underground). Just as you don't ride a mental rollercoaster to look at the scenery, you don't watch The Bunny Game if you like films. I watch this shit to see if I can. And The Bunny Game beats Hostel in horror Top Trumps any day.
I doubt The Bunny Game is going to corrupt anyone. It won't damage anyone's mind (unless you happen to be epileptic. There's some pretty crazy flashing imagery) nor will it inspire any copycat killings. It sure damaged my liver though, for all the drinking I had to do to make it less boring. The only interesting part of the film was The Bunny Game itself, whereupon both characters wear stupid gimp masks and run around in the desert like it's a really gross episode of Star Trek.
As games go, The Bunny Game is not a particularly fun one. It's like playing Twister with the smelly weird guy who invited himself to the party. This is an intelligent, thoroughly artistic movie with far more attitude than your average torture flick. But fuck it, if this is the game, I don't want to play anymore.