Director – Larry Wade Carrell, Screenplay – Zeph E. Daniel, Story – Zeph E. Daniel & Michael Muscal, Producers – Loris Curci & Zeph E. Daniel, Photography – Pau Mirabet, Music – Colin McGinness, Visual Effects/Animation – gForce Animation (Supervisor – Slade DeLiberto), Visual Effects – Prodigi, Makeup Effects – Kristi Boul, Production Design – Wesley Falk. Production Company – Crazed House.
Lacey Cofran (Lorian West), Marcus Jean Pirae (Heinrich), Paula Macenaro Solinger (Misha), Rachel Alig (Charlotte), Larry Wade Carrell (Sheriff Maddox)
Lorian West is abducted from a supermarket parking lot and made prisoner at a farm. There the Austrian scientist Heinrich and his assistant Misha conduct experiments on behalf of mysterious backers. They use conditioning and mind control to turn the abducted girls into Sofias – willing sex slaves that they sell off. Held a prisoner there, Lorian begins to see deep within herself and discover the purpose for which she was created.
Girl Next was the fourth film from Texas-based director Larry Wade Carrell. Carrell first co-directed the non-genre Game Over: The Secret Life of Game Store Clerks (2011) and then solo directed the horror films Jacob (2011) and She Rises (2016). Carrell has also made a number of acting appearances in his own and other films – he can be seen on screen here as the sheriff who comes to have his way with Lacey Cofran and gets his face scratched.
At first glance, Girl Next would appear to be an Imprisonment Thriller about girls being abducted and brainwashed for a sex trafficking operation. I say ‘would appear to be’ as there is not much about the film that is clearcut at all. We get assorted scenes with Lacey Cofran and fellow prisoner Rachel Alig being brainwashed, given drugs and tied up where they are beaten and sexually used. However, these scenes appear to have been shot and edited in random order without the benefit of a script to tie anything together.
All of this is overseen by Marcus Jean Pirae who would be a Mad Scientist in all but name. Quite what experiments he is engaged in are entirely unclear. He appears to be creating brainwashed sexually submissive Sofias on behalf of some shadowy cabal. His backer appears to be some disembodied being that appears as a holographic entity – I say holographic because that is what is most closely resembles but no explanation is ever given as to what the entity is. Pirae also spends much of the film inhaling a glowing blue chemical through a facemask and at the end appears to have started to mutate and become hideously disfigured, even glowing from inside, as a result of his overuse.
In the middle of the film, things just get weird. Lacey Cofran has hallucinatory trips while being brainwashed and begins to discover her true self. There she claims that she is a clone and we see a montage of shots of her in different roles – if you watch all the way after the end credits, there is a sequence with her in one such role as a gun instructor. She makes claims that she was born to this purpose and while she does develop skills as an action girl towards the end, this plot strand is just thrown away and forgotten about. This has to get some award for the most confusing film I have ever seen in some time.