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2008 1h 25m Horror Mystery & Thriller List
80% Tomatometer 5 Reviews 17% Audience Score 250+ Ratings A young mother becomes a stripper and her worst nightmares come true. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (5) Critics Reviews
Nicolas Rapold New York Times A fathomless echo chamber in which spiritual confusion and aggression keep turning into each other, and penance comes to sound like a very dark joke. Nov 13, 2014 Full Review Ignatiy Vishnevetsky AV Club In many ways, Penance plays like an object lesson in how a graceful sense of spacing and staging within the frame can overcome technical restrictions. Rated: B Nov 13, 2014 Full Review Simon Abrams Village Voice Effectively unnerving on a scene-for-scene basis thanks to writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's preference for ambience over character-driven drama. Nov 11, 2014 Full Review Oliver Lyttelton The Playlist "Penance" is a fascinating, expansive piece of work, albeit one that struggles to escape its TV origins on the big screen, and that can't quite stick the landing. Rated: B- Nov 13, 2014 Full Review Mike D'Angelo The Dissolve Consumed in one gigantic, four-and-a-half-hour gulp, it becomes painfully repetitive and monotonous. Rated: 2/5 Nov 12, 2014 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (35) audience reviews
victor a Some frightening scenes but overall it's a movie where there is a lot of talk. I suppose that the main idea is to convey the impression of being suddenly jailed and turned into total submissiveness for women who are trying to make ends meet by showing their wares. It works sometimes, I personally find the character played by Tony Todd and of course Grahm Mc Tavish as the domineering doctor Rahm quite well cast and credible. I am not sure though why we need to spend so much time in talk when the 'cleansing' is basically clitoridectomies, which take about a few minutes - according to the script apparently the women are also stiched shut, but the doctor doesn't do too well by doing them too tight, not that he cares since his goal is to punish the sinning females by terminating their 'evil (sexy) ways'. Nor does he prevent Amelia, played rather credibly by Marieh Delfino, from killing and escaping to a happy life with her daughter. I'm not quite sure why he had to castrate himself, nor did I really understand why the whole jar of clitorises had to end up in a toilet that doesn't quite seem up yo the hygienic standards you'd expect in a clinic. I'm sure there could be and possibly are purifiers like Geeves Rahm. Some in fact, some in fantasy. The supposed 'realistic' approach of the movie is OK but not necessarily my favorite, and I must admit I found some scenes and dialogues fairly cheap. When Geeves Rahm has been removing Amelia's bits and throwing them on the floor, he turns and tells the viewers (presumably, since there's nobody else there) 'We've got a there a doctor in the house?' I guess it was supposed to be funny, since we have this guy with his mask operating and he's obviously a doctor, and I guess pretty much any clitoridectomy must bleed, so it really falls very, very flat.... Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member On the one hand, it does take two separate horror sub-genres (Torture Porn & Found Footage) and mesh them together in a fairly unique way. But on the other hand, in practice all that means is it takes the worst parts of two already shitty devices and does them both. We get the nothing-plot and unnecessary brutality of the former coupled with the low quality and nonsense of the latter. If it's literally meant to be "found footage", why is there a musical score for the jump scares? Why is this woman who is clearly in her 30's telling the camera she is 24? And nobody could have saved how bad a lot of this script is, but the actors that they chose couldn't have pulled off a brilliant one. All the actors that is, except for Michael Rooker and Graham McTavish. Which brings me to Penance's one (kind of) redeeming feature: McTavish's Geeves. The villain of the piece is disgustingly horrific, and feels completely at odds with the lack of realism in the film surrounding him. He is a believable (and terrifying because of it) antagonist, and though it does not save the film at all, I cannot ignore the staying power of that character. There's that, some decent gore effects, and some girls get their kit off. But it doesn't come close to making up for the rest of what Penance put me through. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member penance is very bad thriller its about a mom trying to getting extra money but taking to be tortured by evil doctor. pretty low budget trash. D Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member It's no secret that I have a resistance to "lost footage" films and so these types of movies really need to compensate with a trade off. 'Penance' is set in an abandoned mental hospital where a deranged religious fanatic poses as a military-like surgeon determine to cleanse strippers of their sins. The story focuses on a mother who desperately needs money for her daughter's medical bills and accepts a one-off offer to strip for $3000. Naturally she winds up in the hands of this maniac and his demented staff. I really liked the story and think it would have been even more effective if told in a traditional way. The hand-held style was distracting from what was an otherwise well made and insane premise. The performances are good, particularly Graham McTavish (The Hobbit trilogy) in the role of the religious psycho and the script is well written. Michael Rooker appears in a strange hoodlum role and Tony Todd appears in a randomly fleeting cameo as a chauffeur. I guess each of them contribute a legacy that provides an added appeal factor but they're both unnecessary... McTavish carries the film enough to make up for names like theirs. I went into Penance prepared for something mediocre but I came away surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did. I will no doubt sit through it again sometime soon. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Audience Member Disturbing and even more disturbing is it's a true story. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member disturbing and scary. Not original Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews

My Rating


Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis A young mother becomes a stripper and her worst nightmares come true.
Jake Kennedy
William Clevinger, Micah Goldman, Jake Kennedy
Jake Kennedy
Production Co
Clever Worm Entertainment
Horror, Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 16, 2017
1h 25m