Julia X: Cannes Review
Cannes Film Festival, Market
Valerie Azlynn, Kevin Sorbo, Alicia Leigh Willis, Joel Moore, Ving Rhames
A woman turns the tables on her violent blind date in this cheeky 3D thriller starring Kevin Sorbo and Valerie Azlynn.
Julia is branded X in this well-wrought generic thriller fleshed out in 3D. The depth is enhanced, as well, by a multi-dimensional plot with doses of cheeky humor and verbal panache, as well as in-your-face visual thrusts that make keen use of the format.
Ripped from the news pages of Craigslist killers and Internet predators, Julia X is a twisted concoction of modern-day dating dilemmas, as well as a satiric slant on the “soul mate”- delusions of naïve romancers.
In this titillating mash, Valerie Azlynn stars as an alluring predator who meets her match on an Internet date with a chap whose hidden profile is a blend of Ted Bundy and Hannibal Lechter. They meet online and before he even learns her favorite color, he's dragged her to his lair and branded her butt with his signature “X.”
Then, to continue the fun, he drags her to his bayou bachelor pad, replete with enough sharp objects to launch an Inquisition. Their first “date” progresses fast, as she turns the tables and throws in her twisted little Sis (Alicia Leigh Willis).
Throughout screenwriter, Matt Cunningham has cleverly welded together aberrant psychology with searing thriller/horror elements. To boot, Cunningham heaves in some dollops of droll satirical dialogue, leavening the often gruesome antics of the “players.”
Director P.J. Pettiette stokes the story with a well-crafted mix of noir-like framings, taking full advantage of the 3D format.
Credit to production designer Mark Tanner for the abrasive objects for the 3D fun and for the noir-like design. Director of photography Jason Goodman's framings are frontal-loaded and catapulted by Rob Neal's dynamic editing. Overall, the technical credits are smartly maxed.
Azlynn's willowy and aptly wayward performance as Julia laces the film with sexuality and mania. As her “date” (and oddly enough, sado-soul mate), Kevin Sorbo is dead-on perverse: With his weathered Fabio-like look and affection for the songs of Karen Carpenter, he's a mesmeric nutcase. Completing the terrible threesome, Alicia Leigh Willis is Lolita-ish alluring as the twisted little sister.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival, Market
Cast: Valerie Azlynn, Kevin Sorbo, Alicia Leigh Willis, Joel Moore, Ving Rhames, Saxon Sharbino, Gregg Brazzel, Meg Rains
Director: P.J. Pettiette
Screenwriter: Matt Cunningham
Producers: Greg Hall, P.J. Pettiette, Claude Viguerie
Director of photography: Jason Goodman
Production designer: Mark Tanner
Costume designer: Dore Cermak
Editor: Rob Neal
No rating, 92 minutes