woman is brutally assaulted and then seeks revenge on her
attackers. However, just because the foundation is familiar, doesn’t
mean that “Bad Reputation” doesn’t cover new ground. In fact it is
how the film works within this framework that makes it so original.
Michelle Rosen (Angelique
Hennessy) is a smart, hard working, but painfully shy young
woman who comes to the attention of Aaron (Jerad Anderson) a jock
and member of the most popular clique in school. At first Aaron is
charming and quickly endears himself to Michelle. She is thrilled
when he invites her to his house for a party.
Michelle is excited about the party and about seeing Aaron again,
unfortunately for her Aaron’s intentions are not so obvious. Aaron
and his friends drug Michelle and then gang rape her while she is
helpless. Too drugged to fight back, but still painfully aware of
what is happening to her Michelle endures the assault and eventually
passes out. Only to be found by the girl friends of her assailants.
Rather than taking pity, these girls blame Michelle and decide to
humiliate her publicly for being a “slut”. The persecution Michelle
must endure does not end there. The girls use their popularity to
merciless effect in their campaign to ruin Michelle and soon she has
the “Bad Reputation” of the title.
Hounded relentlessly at school, Michelle can find no help from the
faculty, who, like the students, believe what they have heard. Even
Michelle’s mother has no sympathy for her, saying that whatever
happened she brought on herself. It would be enough to destroy most
people, but instead it changes Michelle. The change is that she no
longer wants to be left alone, she wants revenge. To this end she
embraces her new reputation and the freedom and power that it gives
her. Michelle uses her sexuality as the bait for the trap that waits
for the people who wronged her.
“Bad Reputation” is a well made film. Angelique Hennessy shines in
her role as Michelle the victim turned avenger. Angelique takes her
character through such dramatic changes that one would almost think
it is two separate characters she’s playing instead of one.
Writer/director Jim Hemphill does her skills justice with his story
and really brings out the most in the whole cast. He plays on may
clichés from the genre during the film with references to teen
movies, shows and other horror films. “Bad Reputation” not only
deals with the rape/revenge story line, it also presents some
interesting ideas. One question the audience must consider is how
guilty are you if you simply stand and watch something terrible
happen to someone, but make no move to stop it? Another is the power
of words, repeatedly in the film, we see how rumor and accusation
are powerful weapons and how easily they can shape someone’s world.
“Bad Reputation” is a good film, especially when one considers the
way similar elements have been taken to extremes by many recent
films for no purpose other than to shock the audience. Check out
“Bad Reputation” and let’s hope we see more of the talented
Angelique Hennessy in the future.