Review: BB (2016)
It’s become a staple plot in the horror and thriller genre, a young woman gets involved in sex work and catches the eye of a dangerous pervert. And after seeing it done and redone, C.J. Wallis comes along with his debut feature BB and gives it a fairly fresh twist.
Leah (Jennifer Mae) needs money so she decides to sign up with a company offering online strip shows. Being a cam girl suits her, she can work from home, be with her girlfriend Alina (Victoria Fox) and stay permanently drunk/high while making good money. However things take a turn for the worse when her relationship turns into a mess and one of her viewers, Horny Hal (Kristian Hanson) develops an unhealthy obsession with her and begins stalking her.
As you can see, not a radically unique story but the way it’s told makes it different. It starts out as much a character study of Leah as anything else. It opens with her interviewing for the cam girl gig and shows us her life with her girlfriend and her working the cam. The only sense of any impending evil are the shots of Hal recording himself talking about his obsession with Leah. It’s only in the last half hour or so it switches gears from an interesting lesbian domestic drama to a thriller. The problem is, that aspect of the film is handled so weakly and is so poorly resolved it might almost have been better staying a drama.
Mae is excellent as Leah and her on-cam alter ego Candy Cummings. She handles her character’s arc through happiness with her lover at the start to heartbreak, betrayal as it falls apart and fear as Hal begins stalking her brilliantly. She’s also totally at ease doing the film’s many, often full-frontal nude scenes.
The fact that they’re shot in a fairly nonexploitative manner probably helped and also keeps BB from becoming just another T&A film. Hanson manages to give Hal some depth, and to a degree, we can feel for him and what he’s gone through, even if we don’t approve of what he’s become. He looks imposing enough to make a credible threat, it’s a shame he spends most of his screen time talking into the camera.
BB’s soundtrack plays a large part in setting the tone and I found myself enjoying it even though it’s not my usual taste in music. It also, for a low budget film, has quite a few well-known artists including Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa.
BB is Wallis’s feature debut, but he has directed several shorts and worked in various capacities on other shorts as well as some features. He’s learned his craft well and already shows more talent than a lot of more established directors. It’s just a shame he couldn’t deliver a resolution that matched the film’s buildup.