Through the ‘60s and ‘70s, exploitation films offered a seedy alternative to Hollywood’s slick epics. Independently produced, these rampant attacks on society’s morals ran at grindhouses, drive-ins and art houses, offering lurid tales of street violence, revenge, rape, and cannibalism. Slasher films took over in the ‘80s, but in the ‘90s slowly faded into obscurity as Quentin Tarantino made the concept mainstream. A recent resurgence, however, has brought back the days of gratuitous ugliness in film, offering lurid B-movies to a generation of millennials who’ve never seen a movie without CGI. With The Russian Bride, director Michael S. Ojeda brings sleazy cinema into the present, delivering on the nasty themes of the past while keeping a modern visual style.
Oksana Orlan plays Nina, a desperate single mother with a troubled relationship history seeking a better life for her and daughter Dasha (Kristina Pimenova) via an international dating website. Karl Frederick (Corbin Bernsen), a solitary billionaire, offers the escape she seeks and brings her to the US to be his wife. Nina and Dasha marvel at Karl’s massive estate and running water. Everything seems idyllic despite the strange servants until Karl’s true personality manifests in a ridiculously huge cocaine habit that rivals Tony Montana’s in Scarface. Not surprisingly, his behavior becomes more erratic until the real reason for importing his new family is revealed. (No, it’s not pedophilia – that would be way too obvious.)
“…a desperate single mother with a troubled relationship seeking a better life for her and daughter…via an international dating website…”
Admittedly, The Russian Bride begins slowly, taking time to build up to what ultimately becomes an awesome gory payoff well worth the price of admission. Ojeda fully hands over the goods of opulence, sex, drug abuse, violence and even an unexpected bit of paranormal activity. It’s not politically correct or redeeming in any way. Quite the contrary, it’s the movie that sends snowflakes on social media rants and makes religious conservatives hide their erections.