We’ve all known, and probably have dated, somebody who’s beautiful looks instantly attracted us but who’s absolutely batshit insane personality had us running away faster than we ran to them. Sociopathia takes this to a deadly level.
Mara, (Tammy Jean), is a beautiful young woman, so beautiful she has no trouble attracting members of both sexes although she seems to prefer women which is a bonus for those who like to watch girl on girl scenes, because along with the horror there’s a healthy dose of erotica as well, (not that I’m complaining mind you). She also however has severe relationship issues. I’m not giving anything away here as before the credits roll we see her bed and then later brutally murder one of her lovers.
Being a prop maker allows her to patch up her victims and keep them with her doll collection. It also allows her to meet aspiring producer Kat, (Asta Paredes), who is instantly attracted to her and wants a relationship. This causes major conflict for Mara. She is attracted too, but the situation is triggering all her inner demons and driving her further over the edge. Will love save the day, or is Kat destined to be another addition to her collection?
Sociopathia is the first feature length film as director for veteran scream queen Ruby LaRocca who also plays Emily. She co directed this with first time director, Rich Mallery, who also wrote the script from a story by Ruby and plays Garrett. He’s also had experience as a second unit and assistant director on films like Tales of Halloween. While it’s obvious at times that they’re novices they do an excellent job with a plot that could have been either cliché or distasteful in less talented hands. They build up strong tension in many scenes even though we know how they will end and make the most of the film’s fusing of sex and death, a scene involving bondage and knife play becomes both tense and arousing as we wonder how it will end. There’s also a shot of Mara bathing with her most recent kill which is shot just right and becomes equal parts chilling and erotic. In many ways this is the film Jess Franco would have made if he had talent to match his eye for beautiful actresses. This is probably due to Larocca’s time doing softcore stuff like Night of the Groping Dead and several co starring roles in Misty Mundae films before getting her break in the adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s The Lost.
The film’s violence is frequent and often effective. While there is often not a lot of explicit gore, sound is used very effectively to let the audience just what’s going on. And when it is shown full on it’s particularly brutal although some of the effect is spoiled by obvious CGI blood. But with everything from a knife to a nail studded bat coming into play, there’s enough death and brutality to make up for it.
The acting among the leads is solid and the awkward relationship between Mara and Kat is believable. You really want them to have a happy ending somehow. The supporting cast is really just there to add to the body count. It would have been nice to have had some more backstory for the leads at least but the script still works as is.
If you’re looking for a solid slasher film that has some modern sensibilities while still echoing themes from classics like Maniac and even the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre this is the film you’re looking for. It’s an excellent film and a very promising debut for its directors and their production company Napalm Love Productions.