Review of “Goddess of Love”
Directed by: Jon Knautz
Run time: 93 minutes
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right? Well that is certainly the case in director Jon Knautz’s newest film “Goddess of Love”. Having never seen his other movies, and also having never (to my knowledge) seen anything starring lead actress and co-writer Alexis Kendra, I really had no idea what sort of style or feeling to expect going into “Goddess”. I knew it had something to do with a woman’s descent into madness, thanks to IMDB, but would it be a minimalist slow burn like Mickey Keating’s “Darling” or more of a crazy homicidal bitch slasher thing? That question was (half)answered in the first few minutes.
Kendra plays Venus, a lovely, slightly strange young woman who works a night job stripping at an upscale gentleman’s club. One night, another dancer (Monda Scott) gives her a lecture on how to fleece men for more money, and also how to pick the right man. The first man she chooses to use her new tactics on is Brian (Naismith), a handsome man who tells Venus that she looks just like his recently deceased wife. He also tells her that he would like to see her again, to photograph her. When they do meet up, outside of the club, they instantly connect and begin a deeply passionate relationship.
The second act is where things go from lovey-dovey to jealousy-feuled, paranoid rage. Venus starts to suspect that Brian is fooling around with another woman. The more she becomes convinced of this, through looking through his phone and staking out his house, the more unhinged her mind becomes. When Brian tells Venus he wants to end things, all hell breaks loose. The more Brian pushes Venus away, the more she obsesses over getting him back. First though she will have to remove anyone standing in her way.
Like most femme fatale, descent into madness films a lot of the weight of the movie falls on leading lady Alexis Kendra. Given the fact that the audience, for most of the movie, are following her and seeing the story unfold from her perspective she has to really knock the performance out of the park. Miss Kendra most certainly does. She shows not only range, but a tremendous ability to remain subtly intense instead of going over the top crazy. Being that “Goddess of Love” is my first time seeing her in action, I was not only impressed but anxious to see if she carves out a strong career for herself in the horror genre.
Director Jon Knautz also deserves credit for not only directing but also co-writing a script that, although it has some familiar elements, is polished and effectively eerie. 2016 is shaping up to be a year full of strong showings for female driven horror films. To this point “Goddess of Love” is nestled in among the handful of films at the top of the class.