Penance (2009) – By Brian Morton

Combining strippers and horror is a combo as old as film itself. But, doing it today, and still managing to keep people’s attention is a task that most filmmakers just aren’t up to. Well, writer/director Jake Kennedy has managed to put the two things together and keep my attention for the whole movie. It’s called Penance and it may be one of the best indies I’ve seen in a while.

Penance is the story of Amelia, a woman who’s desperately trying to put together some money for her daughter’s medical expenses. In her desperation, she decides that stripping might be an option, just to get some money. On her first night alone, Amelia is driven to a strange location with several other girls, where she’s made to perform and be, seemingly, evaluated. Soon, it becomes apparent that she (and the other girls) isn’t going to be allowed to leave. What follows is a very strange version of ‘torture porn’, the girls have been summoned by a weird man who’s trying to ‘cleanse’ them, and we all know that cleansing a stripper in a horror movie always involves blood shed! Can Amelia find a way to escape or will she be cleansed into submission? I guess you’ll just have to grab a copy for yourself to find out.

Penance is a pretty interesting movie; it begins as your typical horror movie, but then morphs into something far more disturbing. There are a couple of scenes here that will have your grabbing your nether-regions and wincing!! And, there’s a set up for a sequel that, I for one, will be looking forward to.

I’m giving Penance 3 out of 4 cigars, it’s not breaking any new ground, and, don’t scratch too hard or you’ll find a lot of plot holes, but it’s a cringe-worthy effort that has more than it’s fair share of gore. You’ll find yourself drawn in, despite your best efforts. You can buy…or rent a viewing…for yourself by heading over to http://www.penancefilms.com.