Short horror ‘Blame’ shines light on the aftermath of rape
Director Kellee Terrell tackles the subject of rape and the danger of ignoring its effects with her powerful new short film Blame.
The 15-minute piece is about a young man who participated in the group rape of teenager Lala, the ordeal of which led to her suicide. The perpetrator’s father, Jason, finds evidence of the crime, but is torn over whether or not to take it to the police. Meanwhile, Lala is back from the dead to haunt Jason until he makes his decision.
The storyline echoes many real-life stories in which a victim struggles to get support or a conviction because of the perpetrator’s position and influence. Look no further than last year’s outrage at Brock Turner for example, who was originally sentenced to only six months in order to preserve his promising career as a swimmer.
Blame looks to examine the issues of sexual assault, victim-blaming, race, and social mobility through the spectrum of the horror genre, asking the viewer to examine rape culture and how it infiltrates our lives and the justice system.
“I wanted to know who these people were who blame the victim, who protect the boys and sacrifice the girls, particularly in the African-American community”, explained Terrell.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, Blame has now screened at more than 30 festivals, including the Academy Award-qualifying Cinequest Film Festival.
The short’s power lies not only in its sharp plot-oriented dilemma which forces the audience to recognize the life-changing effects of sexual assault on the victim, but in its contrast to the genre’s typical treatment of female characters. So often are women the victims of sexual violence in horror films that audiences have become desensitized to the act. Blame’s notable impact on screening audiences may be due to its heightening of the very real consequences of such violence via unique, emotionally resonant supernatural elements.