Defying my high expectations, “The Bunny Game” (2011) turned out to be a disappointing viewing experience for me. Although it begins in a promising way, it runs off the rails and ultimately leaves the viewer wanting more — and less at the same time.
The first act, which shows the everyday horrors of the life of Bunny (Rodleen Getsic), is well done. Director Adam Rehmeier, who also handled the cinematography and editing of the monochrome film, does a nice job of shooting the footage and editing it into a montage backed by his own original musical score. The viewer gets a good idea of Bunny’s life as a drug-addicted sex worker. It’s brutal and explicit but in an artistically realistic way.
Things go downhill once she’s abducted by Hog (Jeff Renfro), an apparently run-of-the-mill trucker trick. It turns out that he’s nothing of the sort. The montage technique that works so well in the first act becomes repetitive and tedious. Bunny’s experience under Hog’s control is certainly brutal and deplorable, but it doesn’t go anywhere. The “Bunny Game” from which the film draws its title takes up only a scant few minutes of the film. It certainly does not serve as a description of the overall plot or even as a metaphor within it.
Nevertheless, Renfro and Getsic are utterly convincing in their performances. I was left feeling that Hog is a sadistic scumbag. Yet I never gained any understanding of how he got that way. I did care for Bunny, who deteriorates even further because of Hog, and I hated what he does to her and with her. I understood how she got into her inescapable situation because of the backstory provided in the first act.
I am aware that Getsic experienced similar horrors in her real life experience. Still, there really wasn’t a fully-formed story — probably because there wasn’t a script in the formal sense of the word. As a result, “The Bunny Game” is more of an immersive experience than a movie. As such, it will likely appeal mostly to hardcore grindhouse devotees. It goes well beyond everyday horror into torture porn, ultimately coming close to becoming a snuff film.