Ladyworld (Amanda Kramer, 2018)

 
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What’s this All About?

Just like Lord of the Flies, but instead of posh British schoolboys, we have American hipster girls; instead of an island, they’re trapped in a house under the snow; instead of Piggy as the most vulnerable characters, there’s Dolly, a girl obsessed with dolls; instead of a “beast”, there’s The Man, with capital letters and everything, because there’s always a man lurking from behind. 

Cries and Whispers

American filmmaker Amanda Kramer creates an unnerving nightmare about female hysteria where everyone screams and cries and loses their mind when things get nasty—and things get nasty right from the beginning, after a bunch of teens, in an unsupervised birthday party, are buried beneath an avalanche.

The image above pretty much sums up Ladyworld’s mental state in its entirety as Kramer is more interested in expressionism rather than realism. Its costume and make-up designs are full of intense, aggressive colours while its soundtrack is made out of shrieks, screeches and female gasps. The end results are quite disconcerting, but its constant cacophony and agitation can be exhausting at certain times. Even though Ladyworld’s meant to asphyxiate the viewers, it needs to be careful not to kill them as well.

While storywise, Ladyworld retreads familiar territory—this is, after all, another reinterpretation of the famous William Golding novel—Amanda Kramer succeeds in unsettling her viewers with a limited budget and a refreshing distinctive style.

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Spoiler Area

Just like Lord of the Flies, it all ends in very deux-ex-machina way. 

Unlike Lord of the Flies, there is a Man lurking from behind and its (mostly ignored) presence gives Ladyworld a greater aura of mystery. What was he doing in there and, worst of all, how is he dead?

The Moment

Ladyworld starts with a black screen and the sound of the avalanche. We never get to see it because, remember, this is a no-budget film, but the effect is as terrifying.

Recommended for

Parents who don’t know why their little girls won’t go to sleepaway camp.

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MVP (cast)

You can tell Amanda Kramer showed her cast some movies with lots of actressing, such as A Woman Under the Influence or Zulawski’s Possession, as all the girls do an excellent job in being over-the-top. Of all the actresses, Ryan Simpkins has the most thankless character—Dolly’s annoying, weird and pitiful—and gets away unscathed.

MVP (Crew)

Carson Stern’s make-up design is so flawless it actually looks like it was done by a deranged teenager. 

Audience Reaction

Most of the Q&As can be quite cringe-inducing as there’s always someone who asks obvious and silly questions. This one was an exception. Thankfully. Not only because most of the viewers stayed, but because they were engrossed with the movie and eager to participate. It helped as well that Amanda Kramer was very welcoming and not condescending as most directors tend to be, and very funny and cultured with her answers.

QuestionS I would’ve asked had I not been so shy

Why is there a character named Amanda, just like the director? And why that character considering she’s one of the least important ones?

For Your Consideration

Best Director: Amanda Kramer - Best Supporting Actress: Odessa Adlon, Ryan Simpkins - Best Make-Up Design: Carson Stern