Cinderella's Revenge


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Cinderella's Revenge
"What the film does have going for it is Natasha Henstridge as a fairy godmother who genuinely seems to have sidhe blood."

Next to nursey rhymes and small girls in frilly dresses, one of the things horror filmmakers are most keen to ‘subvert’ are fairy tales. From The Company Of Wolves and Deep In The Woods to Hunted and Final Girl, there are more Red Riding Hoods than you can shake a stick at, Hansel And Gretel feature in both US and South Korean versions, and The Curse Of Sleeping Beauty also makes its mark. Andy Edwards’ Cinderella’s Revenge is another offering in this tradition, mixing an appreciation of its story’s bloody roots with a gory modern twist.

Although Edwards directs, he didn’t write the script, and that shows in what is probably his weakest effort to date. It’s a film that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. For the first 45 minutes it plays it very straight, the only intentional squirm moment involving mutilations which have been part of the narrative for centuries. There are other, unintentional squirm moments as the ugly sisters (Beatrice Fletcher and Megan Purvis) deliver some cringeworthy acting, and Stephanie Lodge isn’t much better as the stepmother. Throw in some celebrity jokes which are a cute idea in principle but really fall flat, and there’s a lot one has to look past to try to enjoy what remains.

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What the film does have going for it is Natasha Henstridge as a fairy godmother who genuinely seems to have sidhe blood. With a very different style from everything else in the film, she effortlessly steals every scene she’s in. Her role is not only to get Cinderella to the ball, but to make her wishes come true more generally – including her wish to be avenged on those who have wronged her. It’s a shame that this doesn’t go as far as it might – there is never a moment at which the young heroine is instructed to pay for these favours – but we still get to observe the fairy’s sly delight as she encourages the girl to take take one step after another toward fully embracing the violence inside herself.

It’s all very low budget. Many viewers will have hosted house parties larger than the royal ball. Some of the costumes and jewellery are sold off-the-shelf in goth boutiques around the UK. The glass slippers look like stripper gear and smudge like cheap plastic. At various points, Cinderella is whipped and tied up and sexually threatened, but this doesn’t produce much in terms of either titillation or support for her emotional arc. There are a lot of half measures – and then, as if by way of compensation, some scenes are overextended and padded, notably her encounter with the prince, which keeps stopping and starting without gaining any dramatic value therefrom.

When the real violence gets going, it’s suitably bloody, and will no doubt please some fans. Women who still have unhappy memories of the girls who picked on them in childhood may find it cathartic. Otherwise, this is an out of season pantomime with a great dame much not much else going on.

Reviewed on: 27 Apr 2024
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Cinderella is pushed too far by her evil stepsisters and stepmother, which causes her to switch out her glass shoes and use the assistance of her Fairy Godmother to seek bloody vengeance.

Director: Andy Ewards

Writer: Tom Jolliffe, based on the story by Charles Perrault

Starring: Lauren Staerck, Natasha Henstridge, Stephanie Lodge, Beatrice Fletcher, Megan Purvis, Darrell Griggs, Mike Kelson, Ricardo Freitas

Year: 2024

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: US, UK


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