Eden (Atheena Frizzell) has a birthday party and invites all her friends. However, just before Ladyworld begins, an earthquake traps the girls which forces them to survive, not just with their limited resources but through the madness that ensues when the girls start to realise there is no escape. Olivia (Ariela Barer) seems like the one with the most level head so, rather reluctantly, she is elected their leader. Soon though, Olivia’s leadership slips away and the eight occupants of the house start losing their minds, forming their own groups to deal with their inevitable demise. There’s also talk of a man in the house who the girls start to prepare themselves for when they think of the terrible things that men are capable of doing.
Ladyworld is the cinematic directorial debut from Amanda Kramer. Kramer’s film shows a flair for the theatrical as the actions of its cast are all heightened to an incredible degree, making Ladyworld an overwhelming and sometimes quite disturbing experience. Ladyworld’s score is also not meant to be conventional, where other scores guide the audience to understand and feel what the characters are feeling. Instead it keeps the audience on high alert to maintain an intensity that works well within the film’s limited budget. The combination of theatrical visuals and intense music makes the film often uncomfortable to watch, but it also makes it hard to look away.
On the surface, the film may be compared to Lord of The Flies, but Kramer delves deeper into a brutal, honest and distilled depiction of what teenage life is like. This image of teenage life is where the survival of the fittest is more to do with popularity and emotional strength than it is to do with resourcefulness. Amongst all the chaos is Dolly (Ryan Simpkins), a girl who is not as eager to let go of her innocence as the others and Simpkins puts in a powerful performance where in other films, she would have been a timid and forgettable character. Also, Maya Hawke’s performance as Romy shows a unique character as she is trying to fit in but not dealing with her own sanity as well as she wants people to think.
Ladyworld is much more than the fantastical, high concept label it may acquire over time. Told with more for the audience to think about than they may have been anticipating, Ladyworld is a cinematic experience that audiences may not have been prepared for, but it’s one they may never forget.
Thriller | UK, 2018 | Thriller | 18th October 2019 (UK) | Cinema & On Demand | Bulldog Film Distribution | Dir.Amanda Kramer | Ariela Barer, Annalise Basso, Ryan Simpkins , Atheena Frizzell