James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay // Film Critic
JULIA is a slow burning thriller of rape followed by revenge. It’s some harrowing and sadistic stuff that is without equal in terms of the sheer horror that goes into committing an act of this magnitude. Hell, even watching and reflecting on director Matthew A. Brown’s film makes you peer into the dark corners of your mind.
Julia (Ashley C. Williams) has fallen victim to a grotesque sexual assault that finds her broken, battered and bruised to say the least. She questions life itself, and who can blame her? Once again, this is some pretty heavy stuff we are dealing with in this film.
Julia learns of some peculiar methods of recovering from such an event from a group of women who are speaking in code. A doctor (Jack Noteworthy) teaches Julia her newfound form of coping informs her that she must never use her newfound form of therapy to take revenge out on her aggressors, but we all know she’s going to break the rules.
What works to great effect in JULIA is the protracted mood that Brown employs with his camera work. The viewer is allowed to contemplate the lasting trauma of our main character. Also, it’s pretty flipping creepy.
Brown focuses on Williams’ face in the moments before and after this event. He’s aware the audience will be fixated on her reactions and how she develops as a character. Williams, who is best known for THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, is given a vehicle which could very well be a breakout performance, or at the very least provide her the opportunity to showcase her acting talents. Williams and Brown’s collaboration exhibits a controlled chaos that many horror-thriller films fail to exhibit.
Brown has more on his mind here than just revenge– at times JULIA is focused on deep-rooted feelings of a woman who has undergone a trauma. The truly horrific reality is that no matter how much blood is spilled, she can never escape the emotional baggage that will follow her forever.
JULIA opens in limited release today.