Spare Parts (FrightFest 2020) review – for anyone who enjoyed Robot Wars and Sucker Punch Love, Death and Rock Chicks

3

Summary

Arena battles, amputations, rock music, and leather basques. Go in with your eyes open and you’ll have a good time.

Spare Parts is about an all-female rock band who play fast and hard for a packed out biker bar, though their show turns into a brawl by the end. The next day, they find themselves in a bigger venue; not for music, but for fighting, having been captured and “customized” overnight.

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s shallow, filthy, violent, and shocking, with loads of blood but no nudity; i.e. perfect for teenage boys who find themselves in between video games. Spare Parts is basically a far-fetched fantasy about women given weapons in place of an arm each and being trained to fight in a junkyard… oh, and then being dressed in black leather outfits for the main event. Fun times, from director Andrew Thomas Hunt.

About the band: Emma (Emily Alatalo, The Scarehouse) is truly into the music, Amy (Michelle Argyris, The Devil in Me) is into the boys, and Cassy (Kiriana Stanton, Neverknock) and Jill (Chelsea Muirhead in her first film role) are into each other. They play great together, but struggle to get along off stage, so who knows what will happen when they’re given weapons instead of instruments?

The place they end up in is a bit of a mystery. It’s run by “The Emperor” (Julian Richings, Channel Zero, Creeped Out) who has a restless son and devout doctor working under him to maintain the games. There is ceremony and chanting to go with these games (also known as “battles”), which are presented as though any blood spilled is a tribute to “the gods”; but writers Svet Rouskov (The Colony) and David Murdoch leave this mythology unexplored. I wonder if a DVD release will come with a prequel, or a graphic novel expanding on the background?

So anyway, realism goes out the window for Spare Parts: it’s not that kind of film. Otherwise, fighting the very day after surgery would not be likely, let alone wearing make-up for battle, or getting turned on by chainsaw prosthetics. This is a film made by men, most likely for men… but it’s entertaining, fast-moving for the most part, and will give some attractive actors a step forward in their careers: that’s fine.

Spare Parts has its UK premiere at FrightFest, October 2020.


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Alix Turner

Alix has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. They cover a wide variety, including genre festivals, and especially appreciates wit and representation on screen.

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