“Penance” is horror-mystery-thriller which follows the life of Amelia (Marieh Delfino) who is a struggleing single parent working at a local abuse center as a counselor. With her budget stretched thin, Amelia has her good friend Will (Garrett Jones) recording her story to try to earn a spot on a reality television show.
When her stripper friend Eve “Sassy” Mauro shows Amelia how much money she can make dancing at private parties, she gives it a try. Amelia does one show with Eve and makes 500 dollars, then calls it quits. She just needed some extra cash, but when Eve gets beat up at a party and calls on Amelia to fill in for a high-priced show, Amelia balks at the idea. When Eve tells her she’s got two grand up front with more at the party, Amelia can’t resist.
Will is filming all of this and goes along with Amelia to the undisclosed location and meets two other dancers who are trying out for the big-time dance gig. It is all very secretive and takes place at an old run down mental hospital, which is run by Dr. Geeves (Graham McTavish).
The mad doctor has other plans for his girls. He has acquired 14 girls who are all locked up and forced to learn the error of their ways while the doctor and his bulky German female assistant test them to see if they have learned anything. For the hostages who are unable to admit the error of their ways they are whipped and if they still don’t learn the way to find the Lord, their genitals are removed, a practice the good doctor preforms himself.
The entire film is shot on a handy cam much like the “Blair Witch Project,” but doesn’t have that low budget feel. “Penance” is billed as a horror film and even has the “unrated director’s cut” on the front of the DVD box to make you think there is going to be some really gory action, but there isn’t. At most you see some blood from the whip marks, but that’s about it. Marieh Delfino’s performance was very good and believable, while the rest of the cast suffered. Michael Rooker (“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,: “Day of Thunder,” “Tombstone”) had a couple brief appearences as the hit man, which were pretty good. “Penance” is a fun little thriller, not really a horror film, that has its interesting moments if you are into this type of indie film.