Friday, January 11, 2013

Compliance (2012)

I have to admit, Magnolia Pictures has never stuck much in my mind for any reason.  But when watching V/H/S, I saw the preview for this movie, and I was entranced.  When watching Compliance, I saw the preview for another exciting-looking movie, Deadfall, and now it looks like I am a Magnolia fan.   Scream King is convinced that the main character in this film (Becky - Dreama Walker) is related to Rose McGowan, but the internet says no.  She does look a lot like her, doesn't she?

Compliance is absolutely (and very closely) based on a true story.  In the late 90s and early 2000s, a man posing as a police officer called over 70 fast food locations, weaving a story about a young cashier who stole money from a customer's purse.  The caller claims to have the regional manager on the other line, and says that police will arrive soon.   However, in the meantime, the "police officer" suggests that the store manager could help by strip-searching the alleged thief, both to help out law enforcement, and save the woman a trip to jail later.  This specific movie is based on the incident that led to the caller being caught, which took place in Mount Washington, Kentucky.  This particular case went further than any of the previous calls, and included a sexual assault.

In the movie version, a young cashier named Becky (Dreama Walker) is removed from her cash register by her manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd) after receiving a call that she had stolen money.  The man, "Officer Daniels," (Pat Healy) pushes Sandra to recover the money stolen, first strip-searching Becky and keeping her clothes as "evidence," and also searching her bag and belongings.  After the strip-search, the caller coerces Sandra into bringing in several men to "watch over" Becky, so that Sandra can help out at the very busy counter.  When the men are alone with Becky, the caller attempts to coerce them into sexually degrading Becky, even pushing as far as a sexual assault.

At some points, I would find this story unbelievable, unless I didn't know it was true, and occurred on several occasions.  This case has been compared to the Milgram experiment as it showcased how far people would go in a situation where they're being commanded to do things by people they view to be an authority.  The acting here was great, and the intensity and general creepiness really shined through.  This isn't a cut and dried horror movie, but I couldn't help but review it here.  A really great look at a true-life case.