Movie Review: Ten

DVD cover for Ten

@lcfremont reviews Ten, wishes she hadn’t…

What do an actress, a religious zealot, a renegade, a coed, a model, a singer, a medium, a real-estate investor, a historian and a doctor have in common? They’re all stuck in a haunted mansion where most are naked for no apparent reason, spout a bunch of philosophical and religious nonsense and die one by one.

From Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein comes Ten, a retro style horror film featuring a cast of all women. Now, before you get all excited at the mention of retro horror, this is no House of the Devil or It Follows. No, this is more along the lines of the kind of movie that takes itself far too seriously and all but screams at you that it’s doing something unique.
The movie starts out really great with the token horror movie intro featuring a brunette beauty and a freaky looking butcher. It all looked very Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and I say that as high praise, indeed. A beautiful looking movie does not make an interesting or engaging movie, though, and it certainly doesn’t distract you from stilted acting and bad accents.
image from Ten
Set in 1972, ten women show up on Spektor Island where they all believe they have come for business. What business a zealot, a renegade and a coed are involved in is beyond me, but the last ferry has just left for the mainland, so this unlikely group of women are forced to spend the night together in a mansion that has far too many pig decorations. The pig theme is immediately set during the truly fun animated opening credits and it really never lets up. There are pig figurines, songs about pigs, pig masks, talk of how pig meat tastes the most similar to human flesh and so much more. At this point, I really wish I had been watching Ten Little Indians, another movie about ten strangers stranded on an island that is actually good.

It should be noted that TEN was the official selection at numerous film festivals and has been hailed as “entertaining, intellectual and artistically bold” and has even been accused of “looking to subvert audience expectations.” Clearly, this little piggy doesn’t agree with the critics and can’t help but wonder if I saw the same movie they did. As stated previously, this is a beautiful looking film and has some moments of clever cinematography. The wardrobe was very era appropriate as was the makeup and body hair. Yes, I said body hair. There is an excruciatingly long scene where one of our ladies disrobes after being drugged and then proceeds to assault all of the other women with verbal barbs and as the bodies begin to pile up, they are all lined up in the attic sans clothing. There is an entire side story involving Russian’s and people having qualities that can save the world, but it really doesn’t matter because it’s simply far too difficult to concentrate on anything outside of the acting. Yes, in independent films one cannot expect a bunch of Helen Mirrens, but every single actress seems to be giving us her very first acting performance. What’s worse than that is I am keenly aware of other actors whose very first performance was leaps and bounds better than a lot of those seen in Ten. Who knows, maybe the poor acting was all part of the retro horror package and it’s all so very above my head that I just don’t get it. You know what? I’m fine with that. The only thing I got out of this movie was an epically exhausting eye rolling workout.

Lisa Fremont

Twitter: @lcfremont

Images provided by Brinkvision

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