Boston Girls tries to be a full on, aggressive, though thoughtful, female revenge picture, and often succeeds. But it also falters at times, with uneven performances and muddled themes, and so ends up something of a wash.
Carmela and Lynne, played by Camille Solari (who also wrote the script) and Shay Astar, are long time friends, living in Boston and putting up with the often less than desirable men they share the city with, including their own boyfriends. They've both led lives of hardship, and things get harder when Lynne walks in on boyfriend Chris (Adamo Palladino) mid-coitus with another girl. She causes a scene, and soon the police arrive and arrest the girls. Taken not to the police station, but to the remote woods, the two are ill used by Officer Fitzgerald (Jon Saphire), while his coked out partner McCarthy (Jonathan Doone) looks on.
This proves to be the last straw for the girls, and they suffer a psychological break (or perhaps it's a moral break, since they proceed most methodically and calmly and not in a way that a psychotic might), and they begin to go around Boston killing various unfaithful men, including their boyfriends, Carmela's creepy Uncle Reggie (Danny Trejo) as well as other fellows who seem to be merely annoying or rude, and a couple of other women as well. They are relentlessly, though somewhat ineptly, pursued by Sergeant Scotto (veteran actor Robert Miano). The girls take a definite pleasure in the killings, and spend the film giggling and joking around and making wry comments at the scene of each successive bloodbath. The methods of murder are varied: they shoot, stab, strangle with a garrote, bake people to death in industrial ovens, slash throats and so on. Blood splatters everywhere, and the girls' acclaim and/or notoriety (depending on one's perspective) spreads throughout Boston.
One of the main themes of the film is that the women of Boston rally behind Carmela and Lynne, seeing the murders as a symbolic strike against the misogynistic, philandering, abusive men of the world, or at least of Massachusetts. This adulation is, at best, a bit unseemly, especially since the unfortunate dead (at least the ones killed by the girls) are guilty of little more than being jerks. And if it were appropriate to summarily execute jerks, many, many people (including this reviewer) would soon find themselves bleeding to death in a gutter. And what of the two women that Carmela and Lynn kill, in particularly brutal ways? True, one of them was sleeping with Carmela's boyfriend, but does that merit death by oven? And the other girl was simply trying to call the police, though it seems that our heroines did have an unpleasant past with her. This all contributes to a somewhat muddled sense of the theme. The film juxtaposes at several points young women exulting in the murders against shots of the maimed and bleeding corpses, some of whom were truly evil people, and some just unpleasant. Is this a subtle criticism of the murderous pair? If so, it is too subtle for the viewer to tell either way.
The film looks moderately good, for a low budget, independent effort. Gabriel Bologna's direction is stylish and confident, though the visual flair is hampered by the harsh look of the digital video. The performances range from pretty good to barely passable. Robert Miano as Sergeant Scotto is at ease and natural, giving his character a flinty gravity, and both Solari and Astar do well as the vindictive friends. Jonathan Doone is a bit mumbly, and doesn't have a lot of range. But a lot of the supporting cast are not that great. The dialogue on occasion veers perilously close to the clunky, and the efforts at humor don't succeed as they should, which leaves a sense of things having nearly hit the mark, but not quite. And that really describes the whole thing. Not quite clear enough or clever enough or funny enough. A good effort, but it falls a bit short. Rent this one.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and is nothing spectacular. There is a bit of posterization here and there, and some aliasing, but nothing major. The image is harsh, but the action is always clear and bright, and the red in the copious blood splatter pops out in a way sure to please fans of that sort of thing.
The audio is in Dolby digital 2 channel, and is decent. Very occasionally the dialogue is muffled, but this is passing and fairly rare. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are available.
There are a couple of minor extras included. They are:
At 2:45, the trailer lays out the plot of the film well, without giving much away, but is pretty standard as these things go.
Unlike most still galleries, this is simply three minutes of shots of stars Camille Solari and Shay Astar dressed scantily holding various knives and guns. Nice enough, but adds little to the experience.
This is not, as one might expect, a series of trailers for various Cinema Epoch films, but instead simply a succession of available titles with cover art.
Boston Girls succeeds mightily with the brutality, but not nearly so much with either the humor or insight it tries for. The nihilistic glee that the girls take in murdering those who have treated them poorly seems to be pointing toward some deeper message, but that message remains shrouded in obscurity. The film ends up being a moderately interesting revenge picture, but little more than that, which is a disappointment because revenge pictures are a dime a dozen, but Boston Girls hovers on the verge of transcending the genre. Unfortunately, it does not.