“Protracted” isn’t often the first word that comes to mind when think of film thrillers, especially of the psycho-sexual variety, but a flexible vocabulary certainly comes in handy when talking about José Ramón Larraz’ directorial debut “Whirlpool” (AKA: “She Died With Her Boots On”), an exploitation hybrid whose offense is magnified by being marketed using extravagantly overreaching comparisons to “Psycho”, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” and “Repulsion”. Such unfathomable symbiotic attribution is designed to entice curious patrons of unnuanced sexually violence, but in the process of comparison there is a danger of conjuring prior artistic heights which tend to make the deficiencies of the current offering all the more obvious.
The film wastes no time in establishing a tone of enervated dreariness with the introduction of a pair of emotionally inanimate blonde mannequins: Theo (Karl Lanchbury), a photographer specializing in memorializing the horrified throes of women being assaulted and murdered (making the absence of a mention of “Peeping Tom” in the advertising campaign difficult to fathom) and his Aunt Sara (Pia Andersson, bearing a distracting resemblance to a mature Tippi Hedren), who it is revealed to not be Theo’s aunt (huh?), thus relieving the film- slightly -from entrance into more provocative area of an incestuous relationship during the film’s confused but plentiful sexual gamesmanship. The film is essentially a chamber piece involving the aforementioned duo and Sara’s latest pickup Tulia (Vivian Neves), an aspiring model who for no apparent reason accepts an invitation to Sara’s isolated “cottage” for an open-ended holiday (with predictably escalating dire results) and who breaks into absurd metaphysical musings whenever the conversation dries up. (As Sara comments, Tulia is “susceptible to atmospheres”; the kind of dialogue straining to be taken seriously as a camouflage for all of the sleaze that is the film’s true raison d’etre.)
To read the complete review, link the following link to: https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/