Director: John McNaughton
Starring: Missy Crider, Ione Skye, Angie Ray McKinney, Bahni Turpin, Anne Heche
Two sexy rebels… in the wildest lockup yet!
Aggie O’Hanlon is an aspiring and talented singer who gets framed for the murder of a record label president and is sent to jail. She has never been in jail before and has to quickly adapt to the life behind bars. Even though she is locked up, the people who framed here are still not done with her and her life is constantly in danger.
Rebel Highway was a short-lived group of films produced for Showtime in the mid-90’s that was meant as a revival of the American International Pictures studio. The films where usually set in the 1950’s with a b-movie drive-in tone. Girls in Prison was one of these movies and it was the last film written by Samuel Fuller before he died. It seems like a sort of remake of the 1956 film with the same title and an homage to the women in prison subgenre.
I went into this film only knowing the title and that it was directed by John McNaughton, who was responsible for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer which is a fantastic film. I did not expect to see a comedic satire of the 50’s that only use the prison premise and the clichés of the subgenre to tell a story. It’s an attempt at making a campy film, but it doesn’t seem like McNaughton manages to pull it off 100%. It gets dull after a while and only colorful characters keeps it from being a terrible film.
They use a lot of time to set up the characters with back stories and what not, but in the end it they don’t really seem to go anywhere in the end. The young and naive Aggie is played by Missy Crider, who did a few TV films around that time period but seems to have disappeared from the movie industry after that. The best part is Anne Heche as Jennifer, who is sexy, evil, mysterious and fun at the same time.
Girls in Prison fails at being an homage to the women in prison movies of the past and ends up being a very forgettable movie. The setup is nice and the characters are good enough for a film like this, but it feels like it isn’t going anywhere and fails to keep the viewer entertained during the entire film. It’s not terrible, but it should have been a lot better.