There are many geniuses when it comes to horror – but I wish more of these were female figures. Women understand what it’s like to fear and to be scared. We’re the ones who are force-fed propaganda to believe that only women shouldn’t walk alone at night. We’re the ones who watch news stories of countless women getting abducted, raped and murdered, and are left being scared for our own lives. We’re the statistic that proves one-out-of-four women will be raped. We’re the ones subject to cat-calling, sexual harassment and victimization. These are the reasons why no one understands horror like women do. And because of this, any piece of horror that’s driven by a woman is nothing short of brilliant.
This is the case with Deranged Mind Entertainment’s short film “Used.” This chilling film lasts only fifteen minutes, but DME is able to cram plenty of gore and a feminist statement in a small box by contorting the limbs and bending the backbone of the story that is “Used.”
To sum up the film with no spoiler-alerts, a woman is seen drinking alone outside of what looks like a bar. A man approaches her and they start talking. She briefly leaves to use the restroom, and while she’s in the bathroom he drugs her beer. Well, you can probably guess where it goes from there.
The actress in the film is one of the head honchos of Deranged Mind Entertainment. On the DME website, Destinie Orndoff introduces herself as a writer and an actress with an insatiable love for horror, which has been a major part of her life from a young age. In “Used,” she portrays a woman who doesn’t fall into the typical “victim” character that the horror flicks portray, but Orndoff is unfortunately forced into victimization by her potential-rapist male counterpart, played by Clayton Abbott. It is then we see her true strength and ruthlessness, as she embodies both a woman’s woe but also how we learn to overcome the abuse and fear. With sexual assault being such a real issue that plagues women in everyday life, this short film is a perfect way to make both a statement and issue a warning in regards to abuse.
Her partner-in-crime is Tristan Clay, who had a brief stint in the film. But where he shines is making the directorial vision come to life. Clay’s cinematography screams aesthetics, but not to the extent of horror in the likes of Argento. Crisp and clear HD camera-quality documents the rich sanguine atmosphere, combined with shadows encompassing the dark figures of Orndoff and Abbott. Tag teaming with Orndoff, the brilliant directorial work allows the brutal heroine to come to life. From the first scene where Orndoff is applying her makeup to the same woman being caked in blood in a motel room, Clay and Orndoff allows us to see the complex and sometimes brutal nature of femininity. Nothing is sugar-coated with a cherry on top in this film. We see Orndoff’s drink being roofied. We hear the misogynist discourse spewing from Abbott’s lips. We see Orndoff giving fellacio to Abbott, and see the blood dripping as she bites his genitals. There are truly no boundaries when it comes to horror, and Clay was sure to leave you with a lasting scar.
Overall, this is a brutal tale of a woman standing up for her rights, an inspirational take on a story that we know is all too common, and some have even experienced it firsthand. Seeing Orndoff covered in Abbott’s (fictional) blood is an empowering sight, showing a woman can truly overcome all abuses in her life. This is a story that needs to be told in the realm of horror – because nothing is scarier than the reality we fear every day.
Watch “Used” below.
Deranged Minds Entertainment has also produced other shorts such as “Red Eye” and “Sin.” Check out their website to watch these other films and more support.
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