8 February 2018



I absolutely loved this psychological serial killer horror-thriller, although you'd better be warned that the subject matter is pretty grim. It concerns the abduction and sexual torture of a young Australian schoolgirl who, in the late 'Eighties, falls prey to that most dangerous of duos, the murderous couple...

Vicky Maloney is the schoolgirl in question. She's tall and pretty and smart with a fabulous mane of long blondey-brown hair, but despite her advantages, she's having trouble in her life. Her parents have separated and she blames her mother for this, as the mother is the one who left. It's a common enough situation but it never fails to mess up the kids involved.

During a (begrudging and reluctant!) overnight visit with her mother, Vicky goes against Mum's wishes and sneaks out to a party. When she accepts a lift from a couple who seem nice (they offer to sell her weed but the weed's at their home, see, so if Vicky would just come back with them for a minute, they'll see her right), a nightmare begins for her that she'll never forget till her dying day. Luckily, that won't be long in coming, if the Whites have their way...

John and Evie White have a grim life. They're poor white trash, John owes money to local hoodlums and Evie's ex-hubby won't let her see her kids. John's bought her a dog to stop her whinging about her sprogs and he likes to sit around in his vest drinking tinnies. Living the dream, eh John-Boy...?

One of their bedrooms, the one where they tie up and rape their unfortunate victims, has a boarded-up window and the dog is a German Shepherd who'll tear any would-be escapee to shreds. Even if any suspicious screams are heard, the neighbours are used to hearing the couple fighting so any strange noises can be explained away that way. Put it this way, it ain't a classy neighbourhood.

Evie loves the brutal, callous John with the kind of desperation common to women who think they're nothing without a man. John reinforces this notion ever time he hits her and then tells her he loves her and calls her his 'Queen' and says that she's everything to him. It suits Evie to believe his bullshit, but the viewer sees through him. We can see the lying, weaselly little shit for the utterly despicable lowlife he is.

John is the driving force behind the abductions, rapes and murders. Vicky is not the first girl he's subjected to his kinky, perverted desires. Evie goes along with it because it's what John wants, but she suffers agonies of jealousy when John has sex with the girls. I think she can't wait till Monday, the day when he takes the raped, murdered bodies out to the bush and buries 'em in a shallow grave. Monday, eh? Just like taking out the trash...

Vicky is a smart girl, though. She quickly untangles the dynamics of John and Evie's relationship in her mind and realises that Evie is the weakest link. She might be able to drive a wedge between the pair if she can convince Evie that John doesn't give a flying f**k about Evie's getting her beloved kids back, which he doesn't.

But what if Evie's mindset is controlled so much by John that it can't be changed or even mildly dented? And in the meantime, Vicky's Mum, the parent whom Vicky blames for the break-up of their little family, is the one who refuses to believe that her daughter has run away from home like the police seem to think. She'll keep searching for her child, even if everyone else thinks she's gone for good...

This superb serial killer movie, the director's debut feature film, believe it or not, reminds me a lot of the film KARLA. This is a fantastic but supremely grim account of the murderous relationship between the beautiful blonde Karla Homolka and her first husband Paul Bernardo, the man who became known as 'the Scarborough Rapist.'

Karla Homolka claimed that she was abused and controlled by Paul Bernardo and that he
was the driving force behind the three rape-murders of young girls, including that of Karla's own younger sister Tammy, for which Karla was convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter following a plea-bargain. A lot of people think that Karla deserved life imprisonment and don't believe her claims of abuse against Paul.

In HOUNDS OF LOVE, however, which was so gripping and compelling that my mind didn't wander once while I was watching it, it's clear to the viewer that Evie is genuinely an abused woman. The actress playing her, Emma Booth, turns in an absolute powerhouse of a performance. She's infinitely realistic as the poor trashy Evie, so much so that I was kind of shocked to see her looking and sounding so differently in an interview in the extra features.

The film will remind you of any real-life serial killer rape-murder cases you've heard of too, even if the killers' modus operandi was different. Ted Bundy was a notorious rapist and murderer of young women. He was the scourge of early 'Seventies America and I'm sure that there were a lot of women who didn't sleep easy until his butt finally graced the seat of the electric chair in Florida State Prison in 1989.

Fred and Rose West were an English couple whose Gloucestershire home became known as 'the house of horrors' after it was discovered that they'd physically and sexually abused a number of women in their home before killing them and burying their body parts all over the house and garden. It's enough to give you nightmares, isn't it? The house was razed to the ground, if I remember correctly, after the investigation was finally completed, so as not to keep an obvious abomination in the public eye.

Anyway, the excellent HOUNDS OF LOVE is available now, complete with extra features which include a couple of short films by the director Ben Young, from ARROW VIDEO. It's a pretty bloody accomplished debut feature from this director fella and a totally worthy addition to the canon of existing serial killer films. It's a must-have, in fact, for fans of serial killer movies but just be warned. You won't sleep easy after it...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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