LA Seduction review – remake of 60s cult flick dials up the misogyny

The original at least reflected its era but this updated story of a woman targeted for sexual assault by a couple of drifters is a nasty pulpy mess

This leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. It’s a remake of the psychosexual home invasion thriller Private Property, which starred Warren Oates – a cult classic that was out of circulation for decades after its release in 1960. (Memorably, Jackie Kennedy described it as an “awful, sordid thing”.) Depressingly, the new version seems to preserve its deeply misogynistic 1960s attitudes towards women. It’s a nasty pulpy film, in which the big question for the plot is whether a young woman is going be violently sexually assaulted and murdered at the end. Will-she-or-won’t-she? It’s a grim watch.

That woman is Kathryn (a woodenly pouty performance by Ashley Benson). She’s an aspiring actor married to a successful movie producer. While he’s at work, Kathryn spends her days cleaning their fancy home in the Hollywood Hills while wearing super-tight denim shorts. Then one day a new gardener replaces her usual guy. This is Duke (Shiloh Fernandez), who charms Kathryn by fixing stuff around the house. “I’m good at most physical stuff,” he says, wink wink. We are supposed to buy Duke’s seduction, but the sexual tension is Baltic.

What Kathryn doesn’t know is that Duke has targeted her, after spotting her at a petrol station. He’s got a sidekick, too – a twitchy guy called, in a little nod to the original movie, Oates (played by Logan Miller). And it’s Oates who can’t take his eyes off Kathryn. Duke is apparently more driven by class resentment to plot the violence that’s coming. What’s really blood-boiling here is that Kathryn’s safety radar is never triggered by the two scuzzy strangers she invites into her home, where she is completely alone. Director Chadd Harbold uses the jazzy technique of telling the story out of order to keep the plot moving. But nothing can resuscitate this nasty pulpy mess.

• LA Seduction is released on 21 November on digital platforms.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Vikram Vedha review – swaggering Bollywood remake of Tamil crime caper
Pushkar-Gayatri’s reboot of their 2017 hit improves on the original thanks to two zingy lead performances from Saif Ali Khan and Hrithik Roshan

Mike McCahill

30, Sep, 2022 @9:48 AM

Article image
Ambulance review – Michael Bay hijack thriller pumped full of radioactive steroids
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal are the duo who take over an ambulance after a heist goes wrong in a film with no workable script

Peter Bradshaw

24, Mar, 2022 @12:01 AM

Article image
The Infernal Machine review – Guy Pearce’s reclusive novelist dials up the paranoia
Pearce impresses as a writer drawn out of tragedy-imposed hiding in an atmospheric thriller that ultimately blows hot air

Leslie Felperin

01, Dec, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
Death Wish review – Bruce Willis on the rampage in a woeful remake
Eli Roth updates Michael Winner’s gory vigilante thriller in an unwholesome celebration of American gun culture

Peter Bradshaw

05, Apr, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Behind the bloodshed: the chilling untold stories about Charles Manson
Tarantino’s epic is the big draw at Cannes. But there are other Manson movies around – including one about what ultimately happened to the young women who fell under the murderer’s spell

Burhan Wazir

15, May, 2019 @2:24 PM

Article image
Argentina 1985 review – rousingly-acted junta trial dramatisation
Ricardo Darin anchors this courtroom drama as the chief prosecutor bringing military leaders to justice for human rights abuse

Peter Bradshaw

03, Sep, 2022 @4:45 PM

Article image
Silverton Siege review – sensational apartheid-era standoff gets Hollywood treatment
Cliches and contrivances relegate a key incident in South African history to routine Tinseltown-style fodder

Peter Bradshaw

25, Apr, 2022 @12:00 PM

Article image
Eastern review – Polish 'western' of male humiliation and revenge
A blood feud takes on a tragic dimension in this thriller of ritualised killing and vendettas between two families in the suburbs

Ellen E Jones

10, Nov, 2020 @4:00 PM

Article image
The Alleys review – gritty and watchable Jordanian drama of criss-crossing lives
In Bassel Ghandour’s debut feature set in Amman, the stories of interweaving lives are told through some great performances, but lead nowhere significant

Leslie Felperin

29, Nov, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
6 Days review – Jamie Bell storms it in Iranian embassy siege thriller
The Billy Elliot star is terrific as the cocky, swaggering leader of a crack SAS team in an atmospheric real-life drama that’s short on suspense

Cath Clarke

03, Nov, 2017 @11:41 AM