I had to choose this poster because it basically spoils the entire movie. It’s a fairly short adventure though so it is pretty hard to not spoil the first part. I’m sure that the trailers did as well since in theory, the second half would be treated as the selling point. It’s a tough call though because I felt like the first half lasted long enough where you could treat it as its own story. I was actually wondering where the film was going to go with this, but once the mud scene happened, it was clear that the movie was still ready to kick it into high gear. It’s definitely better than I was expecting even if it’s still not ready for the big leagues.
The film starts off with a doctor and his wife having some troubles. They don’t get along at all and are ready for a divorce. Paul and June nearly seal the deal, but then an old lady named Malla shows up. She explains that her people have a way to reverse aging and make you young again. There are side effects, but it will make Paul rich so he is eager to learn more. She invites the couple to come to her village and then leaves. Paul quickly pretends to be nice to June again so he can use her as a guinea pig on this new formula. He can’t try it on himself of course since he doesn’t know if it’s safe yet. They go along to the village and are told that they will die there. June is given the opportunity to try the serum though so she gives it a whirl. Unfortunately, the effects only last for a single day so it’s good for a night of fun, but that’s about it. June isn’t satisfied and she wants a true romance since she never got along with Paul, but will she be able to keep on murdering people every day while keeping it a secret from the fiance that she stole from another girl? Only time will tell!
There are definitely some problems with this title from the get go. The main issue is the drama between June and Paul. There is really no purpose to it and June looks terrible throughout the whole ordeal. So, they have been married for over 10 years, but June claims that he never liked her. She likes him though so she puts up with it, but has clearly had a terrible time of it. She has resorted to being a regular drinker. Then, Paul pretends to be nice to her for one day and she is suddenly willing to stick around until he betrays her again. It was definitely a very poor relationship plot and didn’t add anything to the movie. I definitely didn’t care for June and she never recovered from the opening. Going after someone who already had a fiancee was definitely iffy as well although it is certainly the guy’s fault as well.
Paul is quite bad as well. He just wants money and strings June along for his own personal ambitions. Luckily, he is also not that intelligent and basically tells June his plan of leaving her to the Indians to be murdered while he escapes. She very reasonably decides that this is not a very good plan for her so she decides to pull a little trick on him. We’ve also got the random guy who was hired for 5000. He seemed like a good character at first although he was also flirting a little with June and since she was still married..it was a little iffy. He shows his true colors by the end though and suddenly becomes just another villain. I like how he quickly switched his tune once he was in the mud, but he probably should have realized what was coming next.
Another really bad character was the fiancee. He falls in love with someone after only seeing her for 5 minutes and is instantly willing to play the field as he tries to hang out with the new girl while not telling his current one. Naturally, this doesn’t go well and he handles the situation terribly. I was kind of hoping that June would take him out after she had her fun, but ultimately it wasn’t in the cards. Still, it was a good way to make that character as unlikable as possible. He was beyond saving at that point. I did like his girl friend though. She made sure to keep reminding June to back off and when that didn’t work, she quickly grabbed her gun. Unfortunately, she forgot that a gun is meant to keep opponents at bay and you shouldn’t use it in a hand to hand fight. That was just plain sloppy and had a lot of plot hax there.
I didn’t really care for Malla. She talked tough for a while and did help to destroy some of the main characters, but why was she here? Unless she can see the future or has some kind of telepathy, I don’t see why she would go to see Paul in the first place. She is also treated as the ruler of her village as she can murder people for no reason and calls the shots so why didn’t she just stay there. Also, turning young just to mess around with everyone for a full day is a pretty sad goal. I would have preferred a better villain.
I do think that the film did a decent job of switching the tone from part 1 to part 2. Part 2 suddenly became your standard horror film as June picks people off one by one while the first act was more of a Jungle film like the recent fake monster film that I reviewed. It’s hard to say which part was better. Maybe the second half, but they both weren’t bad. There was a quick scene of animal violence in part 1, which was unfortunate and all of the romance throughout the film was definitely pretty bad. You can’t have a good romance with unlikable characters after all, that will be a losing formula no matter how you slice it.
It’s also a little hard to believe that June can defeat all of the foes that she did. She was an old lady at one point, but is still able to overpower a crook who was choking her. June took way too long to make her move as well. Since she was planning to destroy him from the start, she could have handled the situation in a safer manner. She was also surprisingly sloppy after a while. Leaving her calling card on the corpse was pretty iffy and then just leaving a dead body in the closet where anyone could just open up and find it? Granted, the latter example is not quite as bad since she had little time. I can accept throwing the body in the closet, but leaving her card was sad.
I do like how quickly the cops acted though. They showed up out of nowhere and at first I was wondering how they could have possibly put the pieces together. They are definitely good at their jobs and even had the warrant ready so they did everything by the books. Definitely the best characters by default. I would definitely have liked to have seen them more as it’s always nice to see them talk tough to the crooks.
I have to quickly mention The Ring here. June has a ring which can destroy any guy with a quick shot to the neck. You don’t even have to apply that much pressure as June KOs someone while he had leverage and she was an old lady. You basically just have to tap it to the neck and it is game over. I guess the reasoning is that the fang it was made of is incredibly sharp, but it is still a real stretch. Definitely a handy weapon to have on deck though and it is the real MVP of this film. June probably wouldn’t have lasted too long without it.
Overall, The Leech Woman was better than I expected. I still won’t call it a very good film or anything like that, but it’s not downright bad either. I think it’s safely in the middle and it is certainly watchable while even having a little replay value. I’d actually recommend checking this out to an extent if you’ve ever wanted to see a really old woman take down a bunch of people on her own. I suppose age doesn’t matter when you have a one hit KO ring. I still don’t buy the fact that it works so well, but it’s just one of those things I guess. One thing about the plot that still doesn’t make sense though is an early scene. Paul and friends arrive at Africa and see a lot of dead bodies along with Malla’s cane. At first I thought that she transformed and destroyed them, but apparently another tribe got them…but the tribe was Malla’s tribe. Either they have two factions of she was kidnapped during the journey and then her crew came to save her. I dunno, it didn’t make any sense to me, but maybe it’ll click when you watch it. If so readers, let me know how that situation really went down!