I'm conflicted after viewing The Bunny Game, which means that I suspect it has succeeded in its aim. Unfortunately, I can't quite pinpoint what that aim is, and I'm in no rush to revisit the film.
Shot in black and white, the film doesn't seem to have much of a narrative, except it really does. Let me describe the core of the film anyway. It's all about Bunny (Rodleen Getsic), a drug-addicted prostitute who ends up getting into a truck with a man (Jeff F. Renfro) who wants to kidnap her, break her physically and mentally, and then . . . . . . . . . break her some more. It quickly becomes apparent that the future is bleak for Bunny. And there might not be that much of it left.
Absolutely extreme in the extreme (yeah, sorry, had no idea where else to go there), The Bunny Game is a movie that's not safe to watch if you have loved ones around. They will give you funny looks. They will judge you. It's a hard film to watch. Especially in the UK, where it was outright banned by the BBFC.
Joking aside, it really IS a hard film to watch, and it has a general feeling of being unsafe. There's danger seeping from almost every frame of the movie. Director Adam Rehmeier obviously worked closely with Getsic, because there's stuff on display here that just isn't possible without a fair bit of discussion beforehand and, I'd assume, a pre-agreed safe word.
But is it just pointless nastiness for the sake of it? No, not really, although there will be many who disagree. Bunny is a woman who treats herself with little to no care, and who puts herself in numerous dangerous situations, before the worst occurs. Even before the main ordeal, viewers start to wonder if Bunny actually cares about her own life. It's when that life is truly, seriously, endangered that she digs deep within herself to find reserves of energy.
In the acting department, this is all about Getsic's fearless performance. Jeff F. Renfro is good in the role of the villain, but it's Getsic that still manages to make you care about what happens, despite the fact that the movie is a difficult one to watch from start to finish, due to both the content and filming/editing style.
Many people will think that this is an irredeemable piece of trash. I don't. Unfortunately, I think it ends up somewhere in between complete trash and interesting art. In an ideal world this could have changed a few things and turned into something better than (the surprisingly similiar) Martyrs. It doesn't manage that, but fans of extreme cinema (and I DO mean that, don't watch this if you haven't got the stomach for it) should find this one interesting.