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Honor Killing

Troma // Unrated // February 9, 2021
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted April 26, 2021 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:

Written, directed by and starring a fetish model who guys by the name of Mercedes (aka Mercedes The Muse) who, a year prior, wrote and starred in Rose And Viktor: No Mercy (also released by Troma), 2018's Honor Killing features Mercedes as a nameless Muslim woman who wants to further her education despite the protestations of her deeply religious father (Samuel Lopez) who doesn't feel women should actually get an education.

The woman heads off to the library one day and on the way back, she's sexually assaulted by a couple of guys on a remote stretch of railroad track. She survives the attack but when she comes home, her father feels she will have brought shame upon the family. He takes her outside to kill her, and while his attempt at murdering his own daughter for something she wasn't responsible for in the first place doesn't quite work out the way that he intended it to, she does lose an eye in the process. Wanting to get out of Dodge before it all hits the fan, the father hides out at his brother's place. The young woman, however, isn't one to take this lying down. Now seemingly empowered by her ability to survive not one but two terrible attacks, she opts not to just walk away from all of this but to hunt down her father and pay him back in kind, even getting some help from Viktor (Brocus Helm's bass player, Jim Schumacher, reprising his role from the earlier film), who teaches her how to use weapons and how to fight.

This sixty-eight-minute picture borrows heavily from Thriller (or, if you prefer, They Call Her One Eye), using the iconic eye patch motif that Christina Lindberg made famous in that picture (and which Quentin Tarantino also borrowed for Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill) and following a fairly similar storyline. Working the religious element into the picture makes it stand out a bit and gives viewers something a little different to think about, while the picture's ties to Rose And Viktor: No Mercy will certainly please those who enjoyed that earlier film.

Honor Killing winds up a mixed bag, however. The acting is all over the place. Mercedes is sometimes very believable here. She is disturbingly convincing in the rape scene and handles the more dramatic aspects of the picture pretty effectively, but then sometimes doesn't quite nail it in the action and revenge scenes the way that you might hope she would. Still, she gets more right here than she gets wrong. Samuel Lopez is okay as the father, but the guys who play the rapists and some of the criminals in the film's second half fail to convince. Jim Schumacher is, once again, pretty fun in his role, but he's able to just kind of coast on the fact that he's Jim Schumacher and we're not. The fact that he appears here in the same quasi-military garb that he typically wears on stage with Brocus Helm counts for something though).

Production values are uneven. This was clearly made with more heart than money, and there are definitely moments where that's easy to appreciate. The practical effects employed in the film generally work quite well, but some of the digital effects are clearly that, digital effects, and low budget digital effects aren't typically as charming as low budget practical effects are. This is one of those cases. The movie could have been a bit tighter in how it was edited, despite its short running time it does lag in a few spots. But the movie is, overall, a pretty entertaining rape/revenge movie throwback that fans of low budget exploitation pictures should get a kick out of despite its flaws.

The Video:

Troma presents Honor Killing on Blu-ray framed at 1.78.1 and taking up 15.8GBs of space on a 25GB disc. Presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition this was shot digitally but tweaked in post to make it look like it was taken from a worn film print, giving the picture a ‘grindhouse' look. Personally, this never works for me but to be fair, it's done better on this movie than it is on a lot of other low budget pictures that use the same tactic. As to the picture quality itself, fake print damage aside, it looks alright. Colors are pretty nice, typically bright and bold without looking to have been boosted or oversaturated. The film's running time is just over an hour so 15.8GBs of space handles the compression without any real problems. It looks pretty good for what it is.

The Audio:

The only audio option for this release is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. There are no subtitles or alternate language options provided. Audio quality is fine. The track is properly balanced and the dialogue is generally always easy to understand. The score sounds decent as well. Really though, this is a Blu-ray, Troma should have opted for a lossless option.

The Extras:

Aside from a two-minute intro featuring Lloyd Kaufman that plays before the menus load, the disc also includes a few brief extra bits and pieces. The first of these is Test Kill, which is five-minutes of early unused footage from the feature presented without much context. The Tromette is a minute-long video featuring a Mercedes dressed in a skimpy outfit posing in different locations and in different Troma-themed outfits. Toxie Toyis a thirty-second video of Mercedes opening a Toxic Avenger toy. That's it. Toxie Toy Tunnel features twenty-five-seconds the same gal wandering around a train tunnel with Toxie stickers over her breasts showing off Toxic Avenger merchandise. Last but not least, we get a music video for the track Escuela Grind that runs for a minute-and-a-half and which uses footage from the movie. There isn't a whole lot of any real substance here but something is better than nothing.

Overall:

Honor Killing isn't a perfect movie but despite some issues, it's pretty entertaining. Mercedes isn't always 100% on point but she's usually quite good in front of the camera and a couple of the effects set pieces work really well. Troma's Blu-ray release is light on extras and should have given us better audio, but the transfer isn't bad. Fans of low budget schlock should appreciate the picture, and if you fall into that category you can consider this one casually recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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