Make no mistake, Strange Girls is a strange fucking movie. It starts out with two different looking red headed twins as two not-very-sane-murderous-out of their gourds sisters who escape from a mental hospital to live their lives on their own, to avoid separation. This movie does not appear to have a lot of production money going for it, which I might think would normally be off-putting, but I give the Four Top Hats here to the writer / director (Rona Mark) or the actresses (Angela Berliner and Jordana Berliner) who developed these two characters. I mean, either the sisters or the director experienced something horrible when they were kids, or they knew someone who had it really, really bad or read some awful case studies, but these two twins are fucked up. The movie itself isn’t a “huge production” wonderful job, shot with local theater troupe actors and an expensive HD camera, but (be warned) it does have a couple of “oh gross” moments, a very interesting concept, a fun chase through the woods and then there’s the idea of these two sisters…
We are introduced to the girls, (to each viewer their own perspective) the slightly comely Virginia and her twin Georgia (the less comely “twin in charge”) as they sit in a room in the ward, catatonically staring at the floor… eventually they stand up in complete blank synchronicity. They speak to no one except themselves and when confronted in any way, they stare only at the ground and do not talk. They walk in the exact same steps either down the street or the hall or up the stairs and even eventually share the same sexual partner, because it’s only fair if they share as one person. There’s no real back story as to how they got so messed up, but you get an idea at one point where, sitting in front of a guidance counselor, clammed up, Virginia rebels and chews a piece of gum: this sets off a huge sister-fight-choking session, after which, Georgia is dressed in a man’s clothes, wearing a fake moustache and spanking Virginia with a paddle, screaming “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CHEW GUM!!!” Or another time, they are trying on lipstick in the drug store, enjoying themselves, when a female clerk comes up to them and asks them if they like that color, they stop smiling, drop their eyes and heads and stare morosely at the floor.
So the story is this: long ago they were penned up, found by social services living like animals in a closet of (presumably) their parent’s house, filthy, feral and speaking their own language. They have lived in “the ward” for sixteen years or so when their case is taken on by a new doctor. She can’t get them to talk so she suggests splitting them up, to which they hand her a note in little-girl flowery writing that “this is not preferred”. So… (wait for it) that night they escape and murder her. Soon they are living as borders in a run down house on a run down street in run down urban Pittsburgh. They steal the old lady-renter’s money, steal her car when they want to run errands and get abused by the local female toughs who call them “Freaks” (and such, etc.).
Well – I think it goes without saying that things don’t end up well for many people, involving: a bag over a head, human feces on another head, a trepanning (look that one up), a lobotomy, some stabbings, a broken ankle and, what I thought was a clever and very fun chase scene through the local woods. It’s easy to see this didn’t have much money fed into it and there’s not much available production value (like sound effects or even special effects for that matter) but this movie did sit uneasy in me for a day or so after I watched it, thinking about those two sisters and what would cause them to be like that. Love you , Mean It Strange Girls, just don’t come looking for me.