The good folks at the British Board Of Film Classification (BBFC) must really love directors such as Adam Rehmeier. A micro budget horror film like The Bunny Game is just the kind of easy target the board needs to show what a worthwhile job they are doing thus keeping them in work. Without wanting to over-simplify, here we have the same old scenario where a massive buzz circulates following the controversy and, well, whether or not refusing a film a certificate is entirely counterproductive is open to debate but how many of us would have heard of or cared about seeing this movie if not for the fact it was rejected?


There’s no doubt that this gave Rehmeier a massive amount of free publicity, but I can’t help but think on the flip-side it has its negatives in the sense that it does often mean the fans can have ridiculously high expectations for a film to be outrageously vile and upon seeing it turns out to be a huge let-down. All that hype can affect ones judgement and prevent one from judging it as a film in its own right, and I have to say I can be terribly guilty of this at times. The Bunny Game doesn’t have a UK release – I reviewed this via an online screener sent by the director. On first viewing The Bunny Game I wore my blood-tinted glasses, rubbing my hands with sadistic glee expecting something truly horrific that would really warrant its shunning from civilised society, and as is quite often the case it didn’t quite deliver on that level. I was left feeling a bit deflated, but as has also been the case with over-hyped films such as Martyrs (best example of a film I initially found disappointing but has ended up a firm favourite of mine) and Murder Set Pieces, it was a case of getting over that and watching it with a clear head and judging it on its own merit as a movie, not as *grits teeth* torture porn.


The film straight away draws you into the tragic world of prostitute Bunny (Rodleen Getsic), who lives very much hand-to-mouth. The greyscale cinematography emphasises the colourlessness and misery of her life on the street dealing with drug addiction, poverty and abusive clients. When what very little possessions she owns are stolen after she passes out, you definitely feel that precariousness and uncertainty of a woman that is living on a knife edge and is very likely to fall or be pushed off at any moment. When a trucker gets abusive and knocks Bunny out then it’s a case that it was probably going to happen sooner or later. Cue sinister ambient music as the trucker, Hog (Jeff F Renfro), prepares Bunny in the back of the truck and the general bleakness builds up until she awakes tied up in the dark confined space. Her screams blend in amidst the underlying ambient sounds making for a raw and unnerving aural experience that really compliments the visual insularity. For the remainder of the film we are kept in darkened captivity along with our victim, who is kept chained up, naked and deprived of food and water, as the incredibly disturbing Hog occasionally enters and taunts her, playing a twisted game with her all the way.


The acting is very good with both main stars giving convincing portrayals. Getsic allegedly fasted for the role which makes sense looking at how rake-thin she is at the end, and Renfro comes across as an incredibly creepy and disturbing sick old man. It’s a very believable cautionary tale; street prostitution is a dangerous profession, they go missing all the time and are easy prey for murderers and sickos because, as in Bunny’s case here, there is often no-one in their lives who are likely to report them missing. Take a broken girl and break her down even more and really what is left?


This film is really quite clever as it does feel like you have been put through hell without really showing you very much in the ways of gore, violence or torture. Okay so there are a couple of moments including a couple of branding and asphyxiation scenes that may shock some, but really it plays on your expectations, keeping the viewer in prolonged suspense. I also have to comment about the BBFC’s claim that Getsic’s nudity eroticises what is shown; as this is something I strongly disagree with and see nothing especially “erotic” about the way the events in the film are portrayed.

The cinematography is really artfully done, I love the drained lack of colour and the scenes shot inside the truck are really quite visually stunning, and with a soundtrack to match. It gives that messed-up almost surreal vibe of Slaughtered Vomit Dolls and it’s the kind of film I will definitely watch when I’m in the mood for something artistic and beautiful yet disturbing, rather than gory. Does it warrant its classification refusal? Well in my opinion certainly not, but I also am under no illusion this is a film for everyone.


Luci Herbert