Action, Horror, Thriller

The Jail – The Women’s Hell (2006)

Comments Off on The Jail – The Women’s Hell (2006) 10 May 2017

The Jail The Women's Hell

Studio: Intervision

Theatrical Release: May, 2006 (Cannes) 

DVD Release: October 13, 2015

Director: Bruno Mattei

Not Rated

Review by Travis North

Based on the painted art of the cover of this DVD, I was expecting some vintage exploitation trash. As soon as the movie started and I saw the telltale video quality of the picture I was instantly let down. Then the credits let me know Vincent Dawn, aka Bruno Mattei, is the director. I’ve reviewed some of his titles previously, and it is hard to know what you are going to get with Mattei. So my defenses were up and ready to suffer through some crap.

The Jail has a pretty threadbare plot. Three women enter a woman’s prison, and of course it is a hot steamy hellhole. I’m talking about the jungle weather as well as the prisoner’s sopping wet pudenda, because there are plenty of long takes in showers. That’s pretty much a given in a WIP film. The vicious warden cliché is also included. It doesn’t take much to piss her off and sentence prisoners to some unconvincing lashings. You’d think that is pretty bad, but the warden also has a side business of selling women off to get pimped out at a local whorehouse.

At this point I have to admit I was moderately entertained. Loads of nudity, rape, rape with a snake, and while the dubbing was pretty bad it includes some really ridiculous dialogue. A few choice cuts; “You know what, you’re a real whore”, “Get out of the way shit head!”, “You’re a shitass!!”, and plenty of hilarious yelling. Bruno must have been getting bored at this point, because out of nowhere this turns into a Most Dangerous Game situation with prisoners being sent out to be hunted by a bunch of wackos. And just for the hell of it, there are cannibal tribesman on the loose so things seem really bleak for our female protagonists. The violence and actual gore start to kick up in the second half. Cut off tongues and tits, decapitations, knives jammed up pussies, it’s like a greatest hits of vintage Italian splatter. My favorite scene involves a woman taking a bunch of point blank slow motion shotgun blasts and not dying. Worse yet, she then gets gang raped. Take that you crybaby Alex Murphy. Mattei is even true to form and manages to cram in some rip-off music cues (one very close to Aliens) and stock footage of wild animals (in this case what I swear might be a shot taken from Predator of a giant snake).

While certainly no masterpiece, it’s unusual for a director to be making anything worthwhile at the tail end of his career, let alone a second rater like Mattei. Maybe he felt his swan-song was approaching and decided on some nostalgia. There are a few interviews included on the DVD that talk about Mattei and what a terror he was on set, and how much he tried to hide his illness from most people. It was also interesting to hear about the culture clash between Italians and Filipinos on the set. The picture and sound aren’t great, but this is a low budget, shot on video effort so you shouldn’t expect much. The final extra is a trailer. This ended up being a nice surprise. It wasn’t from the glory days, but does probably the best approximation you’re going to get from imported horror made in 2006.

Movie and DVD Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

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