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Movie Review: 2001 CUFF: Coil

By Mike Everleth ⋅ August 19, 2001


Coil is a difficult film to review. Like Wormwood, it’s a fictional feature by a first-time director, Jesse Heffring, with a one-note mentality. But that one note is pretty interesting, so despite some structural problems I had with the movie, it’s still a pretty intriguing flick.

The film has an interesting conceit — it’s shot as though everything was filmed on security, TV news and home video cameras. But this shooting style is more than a mere gimmick; it’s cleverly essential to the plot.

A woman, a TV news reporter named Morgan Bianco, goes to a birthday party for a co-worker in a nightclub, then on her way home she stops by the Laundromat that she had dumped her clothes off in earlier in the evening. Unbeknown to her, a guy from the club has followed her back to the empty Laundromat, where he then savagely rapes her in one of the dryers.

Even though the rape was caught on a security camera, the criminal case still comes down to a matter of a “he said, she said” argument. The rapist insists the sex was consensual and that he was merely fulfilling Morgan’s rape fantasies that she divulged to him at the club.

Have You Seen This Movie?

I have to give Jesse major credit for pulling this scenario off and the issues surrounding the rape are entirely believable. The film did lose me a little when Morgan becomes a “media terrorist,” committing horrible anonymous crimes and then reporting on them. I thought this was asking me to make a leap of faith too big than I could handle.

This was a problem, I believe, on the script level and not at all due to the performance of Barbara Kozicki who played Morgan. Kozicki was extremely good in a tough role. I just would have liked to have seen more about the characters and their lives beyond the rape. I think that would have given the film more resonance for me.

But despite my issues with Coil, it is the film of the fest that I found myself talking and thinking about the most. (Well, other than the film that I’m somewhat involved in personally – see next review.) It’s a good discussion/instigator and there was quite a lively Q&A session with Jesse and producer J.J. Heffring at the end of the screening.

At the Q&A session, the first question was asked of Jesse: “How well did you know Morgan Bianco?” A person in the audience thought that the film she had just watched was a documentary! I’m not telling this to make fun of this befuddled audience member, but to show that while I wasn’t totally convinced by the action on-screen, somebody else sure was!

Continue on to 2001 CUFF: Plaster Caster.

Go back to 2001 CUFF: Wormwood.