Ankle bites (movie review)

REASON: Four young girls resort to murder to make sure their mother’s new boyfriend is not going to hurt her in any way.

REVIEW: I do not know the story behind the creation of director Bennet De Brabandere’s feature film debut Ankle bites which was formerly known as Cherrypicker, but I would like to think that the film was inspired by Robert Rodriguez’s advice that novice filmmakers write something based on the people and things they know they have access to. To MariachiRodriguez knew he had access to “a bus, a guitar case, and a turtle,” and he built the film around it. If De Brabandere wrote his film specifically because he knew he could get the four Reid sisters to star in it, it was an ingenious move. If they happened to audition for the movie, it was very coincidental.

The sisters are Rosalee, Lily, Violet and Dahlia Reid, and in Ankle bites they play Rosalee, Lily, Violet and Dahlia Haywood (the common names are what made me think the roles were written with them in mind), the daughters of the young widow Laura (Marianthi Evans). Laura is dating former hockey player Sean Chase (Zion Forrest Lee, who also made the story with The Brabanders), and the girls are very suspicious of this new guy in their mother’s life. They’re sure Sean is planning to hurt Laura in some way, and even think he’s scared her to stay with him. This could not be further from the truth – Laura is very fond of Sean and he has never turned out to be anything but a good guy with her and around the kids. The kids really only distrust him because they do not like the idea of ​​their mother being with a new one … but they feel that their suspicions are confirmed when they find a cell phone video of Laura and Sean having sex . This couple has a kink to the harsh stuff and all the girls see when they watch the video is violence. So they set out to save their mother from Sean, no matter what it takes.

Ankle Binder Bennet De Brabandere Rosalee Reid Lily Reid Violet Reid Dahlia Reid

The story of this movie is pretty straightforward. The girls do not trust Sean from the start and we see them just taking things further and further while trying to get the guy out of their lives. Some very twisted things happen at the end of this movie (including variations of a few popular urban legends), but the kids rarely come out as little devils. There is an innocence in the horrible things they do as they are not old enough to fully understand the consequences and seriousness of their actions. There are elements in the film that the Brabanters could have explored to make it a little deeper. We are shown that Sean has had a violent temper in the past, and he continues to have flashbacks to a hockey game where he stuck out an opponent’s eye, but nowadays there is no sign of the old violence. The Brabanders could also have made the viewer insecure about Sean, but instead we are meant to be on his side all the time. And even though we know he’s capable of removing someone’s eyeball in the middle of a game, the film is effective in making us feel sympathy for Sean.

Lee and Evans both do well in their roles, and there are notable supporting characters played by Matia Jackett (another cast member who shares a name with her character), Evert Houston, Jani Lauzon, Michael Copeman and Colin Mochrie – yep, the Whose line is it anyway? guy shows up in this movie as a detective trying to figure out what’s going on in the Chase / Haywood household. He plays the role in a down to earth way and still gets some laughs. But the MVPs here are the Reid sisters, who are at once adorable and unsettling and handle the crazy things their characters do perfectly. The standout among these standouts is Rosalee, the most twisted of the herd. She did a great job of playing a little maniac.

Ankle Bitters Bennet The Brabant Zion Forrest Lee

Ankle bites is a weird, entertaining, disturbing film that had the potential to become something more than it is, but as it is, it’s quirky and entertaining enough to be worth checking out.

Really my biggest problem with Ankle bites is the fact that it starts with a Gary Glitter song played on the soundtrack, a fantastically awkward choice for a movie starring a bunch of little kids. The filmmakers must have been aware of the tumult that arose when “Rock and Roll Part 2” was used in Joker, so why should they use this? Of all the possible musical choices, they went with this creepy one. I would remove Gary Glitter, but the score composed by Maurizio Guarini is pretty cool.

Dark Star Pictures provides Ankle bites a DVD and on demand release on November 16th.

Arrow in the Head reviews Ankel Biters, about four little girls who are willing to do terrible things to get rid of their mother's new boyfriend.


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