Amelia is a poor and desperate self-employed house cleaner. It's all she can do, but when a pain is making itself reminded she can barely do that anymore either.
With "Hike" I knew that Jennifer Campbell would end up making something great. "Hike" was not a bad movie, quite the opposite, but it was so short that it kinda left before it got started for me. So I've been very curious to see what else she'd bring to the genre, and here she is now with "Bruised", a body horror for the working class. I say this with the utmost respect for the movie - I'm not saying it's low in quality, but strictly speaking of its heart and core.
Amelia isn't just a house cleaner - she's a self-employed house cleaner. She's struggling with most aspects of her life and she just barely manages through. She plunges through all the problems and dramas of her personal life, but when a chronic pain is blooming into a gushing cyst she can't even continue with even the simplest tasks of her job. She turns to the internet to try and find a solution to her problem.
I don't plan to go into great detail about the movie, but it does get very gross but on a very realistic level. Basically, we're not talking about a metamorphosis or any massive decaying or mutation for that matter, but it might be even more gross because of that. It could happen to anyone, and we've seen it happen to people. More importantly, the thing that infects Amelia's body isn't just an attraction of the macabre, it's a very clever way of showing an already broken woman completely defeated. She can't even do her job anymore. It's such a real issue that it's quite sad to think about, and one I have witnessed first-hand in my life on several occasions.
Briana Rayner portrays the broken Amelia perfectly, she shows strength but also that she's at the end of the line. It's very easy for us to feel like we're next to her, trying to help any way we can. And that's a compliment to Jennifer Campbell as a director too, of course, but without a strong cast that'd be falling flat. I can only hope that the two will work together on future projects.
Jennifer Campbell has put her own stamp on the body horror genre with "Bruised". It's a genre that has been done to death as the typical "gross-out" flick, but very few body horror filmmakers manage to bring that extra punch to it - that bit of reality. Jennifer Campbell and Briana Rayner's performance does just that. It's not about how extreme it can get, but how a person can fall ever further down the ladder when the last thing they have is taken away from them. I think "Bruised" is an excellent short film and a much needed take on the body horror genre. Catch it on the festival curcuit if you get a chance!