Fueled by a micro budget equivalent to that of a used car, Christopher Bickel directorial debut, The Theta Girl, explodes on screen and fucks shit up. Packed with grindhouse-style action, this feature is a reminiscence of Street Trash (1987) and Hobo with a Shotgun (2011). Backed by a wild, original story written by David Axe, supported by noteworthy performances and driven by gruesome special effects, this indie is packed full of delightful, back alley depravity.
On a mission to score bulk supply of a hallucinogenic drug called Theta, Gayce (Victoria Elizabeth Donofrio) walks the shady streets and debauchery-filled alleys of the night to connect with her dealer, Derek (Darrelle D. Dove). Crossing paths with a group of religious fundamentalists, Gayce attracts the attention of Brother Marcus (Shane Silman), who tails her with a few of his loyal followers. The group is spurred on by their warped sense of Christianity and Marcus’ curiosity – which he explains as a calling – which leads the missionaries to the bar where Gayce wheels and deals while her punk rocker friends, Truth Foundation, jam their rebellious tunes on stage. However, when the patrons begin popping Theta pills, their party experience is enhanced as they hallucinate their way into a whole different reality of a shared consciousness. The crazy zealots involuntarily find themselves along for the ride after sipping on sodas spiked with Theta.
After a night of punk rock, partying and orgies, bodies begin to drop with guts and intestines painting odd, Occult-like signs. With ties to the first disemboweled victim, Gayce enlists the help of Derek. Together, the two Theta dealers trudge through multiple bloodbaths and blood-soaked crime scenes on a mission to find those responsible.
While Axe’s script has no shortage of crazy surprises, The Theta Girl would not be the same without the complimentary performances. Dove gives a cool and collected element, keeping a grounded sense to the film, while Silman becomes the embodiment of brutal insanity driven by fundamental beliefs. However, Donofrio stands out, bringing an edgy touch with a thirst for vengeance.
While there are many commendable elements of The Theta Girl, what is truly an impressive highlight are the practical special effects. With enough gore to fill a used car, Bickel’s creativity shines like fresh blood glimmering in the moonlight. This wild trip of a film is sure to satisfy any gorehound and find appreciation among fans of grindhouse features. In an end credit message, Bickel encourages you to explore your creative side by making “your own fucking movie.”