POPCORN FRIGHTS: Compulsus (2022)

Compulsus means “striking together; hostile;” that makes sense in this film, which finds a female poet named Wally (Lesley Smith) striking back at the male-on-female assaults in her neighborhood by turning the tables and making men live in fear, all while trying to start a new relationship with Lou (Kathleen Dorian). But is a normal life possible once she becomes addicted to beating men into pulps? And when Wally brings Lou into her world of violence, will it deepen their love or extinguish it?

Director and writer Tara Thorneis making her full-length directing debut with this film, which presents a neon-lit city where violence and sexual threat is around nearly every corner. It also allows for Wally’s poetry to frame nearly every step of her journey from frightened woman to frightening vigilante.

Whether this movie is a call to arms or a reflection or society, I leave up to you, the viewer. If anything, it has made me even more cognizant of the ways that men treat the women in their lives.

Compulsus is playing at Popcorn Frights and will be available to watch virtually as part of the festival.

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