The summer has come to an end and Mary is going back to school with her friends when all of the sudden their car is stolen and they're stuck near an all-girl school. A student on said school named Judith offers a place to stay while they're sorting out their problems, but they soon find out that the school is filled with violent, radical feminists.
Gender issues is one of the reasons why I don't enjoy politics. It's just this endless fucking discussion that pops up every where I turn. What's even more annoying is that everyone calling themselves "feminists" have their own definition of what it means. What's the point of being part of an "ism" if no one within it agrees with one another? The thought of feminism is a-okay in my book - equality for all, and all that. Obviously that's how it should be. Without going too far into this political crappiness, this film is about what can happen if you push feminism to the extreme, and at first I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it simply because it deals with politics and that specific questions.
Essentially this political theme also forces the film into another area I don't like - cults in horror films. I honestly don't know why I don't like it, but usually they come off as cheesy and annoying. So not only does it feature politics, but it also involves a cult of sorts. How could I possible enjoy this film now? I did, though. Even though the story is cult-ish, it's equally a slasher. We have our lead girl, Mary, who is going back to school after summer but she, and the people she drives along with, get stranded at an all-girl schooll when the car is stolen. The school is filled with man-hating feminists, and unlucky for Mary she has her boyfriend with her. At first the school seems fine, a bit radical here and there, but the longer they stay the more they try to get Mary to join them. But these girls are not just feminists, of course. They're in it to get rid of the males, only keeping a few good ones for reproduction (until further development in science) and as slaves.
I won't go more into the plot as there are a few twists/turns here and there through-out that are better left unspoiled in case you want to check the film out. The movie is for the most part a slasher where these feminsits kill men (or anyone standing in their way) but it focuses a lot on the school as a whole. It's not a body count slasher at all, but still people are being... slashed. The further we go into the film, the bigger the whole thing seems. The film also gets slightly more involving and interesting as we go along. In the beginning it feels mostly like a "been there, done that" thing. It's not until later when secrets are revealed, people are easier to understand and the idea grows from simple man-killing to a more complex and interesting nature, that we are drawn into the film. By the end of it I think it's a pretty good movie, even though a bit undecisive in its direction.
The movie works because the writer/director wanted the ideas to be genuine and realistic, but he never lets us forget that we're watching a horror movie - not a pro-feminist or an anti-feminist video. A lot of political views are uttered through dialogue and you can decide for yourself if you want to take a stance or just go along for the ride. A pretty good move from Lonnie Martin, as it could've came off as preachy. Another reason that the film works is because the entire cast are on the same side as Lonnie. They want the voices within the film to be heard and understood but they know it's horror. It's important for a crew to be on the same page, especially when politics are involved, and in the end I think it helped tremendously.
"Women's Studies" is far from flawless. There are plenty of cheesy and campy moments, part of the narration seemed a bit too pretentious, the finale at a club was odd and not entirely called for (even though it delivered a rather interesting... show) and it didn't always seem to know where to turn. But on the other hand, most other films would've been terrible if they suffered from similar flaws. Lonnie Martin should be proud that he didn't fall into that - it's still a good movie. It shows a lot promise for the future of the entire cast, it has a political aspect without letting it control the film, it ties up rather nicely, the acting is for the most part way above passable, and it knows some key ingredients of horror. Check out "Women's Studies" if this sounds like something you'd like!