Review: 'Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl' is a Seductive Slice of Retro Horror
Things are really weird and scary and shitty right now in the U.S. and while we’ve always got you covered on current events here, I thought it would also be nice to offer some alternatives to the daily horror show. Sometimes, you just need to get a break from the stress and fear and indulge in some self-care. Now, my idea of self-care is a day of films, especially horror films, but if they aren’t your thing, I promise I’ll also suggest some other kinds of films in the future as well.
But tonight, I offer Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl, which is currently streaming on Shudder and which I decided to indulge in for a break this weekend, amidst my ongoing Twin Peaks re-watch. Part of me was drawn to the film due to the involvement of Quinn Shephard, who co-stars as Beth, and who was behind the wonderful film Blame, which I loved and reviewed out of the Tribeca Film Festival last month.
Erin Wilhelmi stars as Adele, as a sweet, quiet and slightly unsure girl who moves in with her elderly Aunt Dora, a woman living in a sprawling Victorian mansion who is in need of around the clock care. But Aunt Dora is reclusive, refusing to leave her room or let Adele in. The older woman leaves Adele detailed notes in a spidery script, specifying the grocery items she must have and requiring the girl to leave a tray of tea, crackers and sardines outside of her door every day. At this point I got serious Burnt Offerings vibes from the film even though it was clear she was real if not eccentric.
One afternoon, as Adele struggles to pay for a slice of pizza, she meets Beth, a mysterious and beautiful girl who pays for Adele’s food and invites her to stay and talk. There’s an instant connection between the girls and, despite being warned not to, Adele breaks the rules and brings Beth back to her aunt’s house. The two girls become fast friends and Beth constantly encourages Adele to test her boundaries and shirk her responsibilities, from buying cheaper alternatives when her aunt’s heart medicine proves expensive to playing dress-up in the basement. It becomes clear that Adele is attracted to Beth and she agrees to leave her aunt alone for a day and travel to the seaside, spending a day wandering a graveyard, getting high and listening to Beth’s stories. But Adele’s decisions, as well as her attraction to Beth, soon bring irreversible consequences that change everything and leave Adele to her ultimate fate.
Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl has a retro feel to it akin to The House of the Devil, as it is set at the start of the 1980s, with debates between Carter and Reagan occurring in the background. The film has a few jump scares that work effectively but the film’s finale definitely brings out the big guns and leaves you with an ending that will make you want to revisit the film all over again. And I already want to! Plus, the relationship between Beth and Adele gives off some serious Jean Rollin vibes. Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl would definitely make a great late night paring with Fascination.
So, if you’re looking for a break from it all, give this one a watch!
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