INSIDE THE BOX, WITH A TWIST
Review By Anna Scott / September 6, 2009
Welcome to Sugar State Women’s Facility — where the tits are real, the whippings are merciless and the warden is one hell of a demanding bitch. But payback is the biggest bitch of all in writer-director Cody Jarrett’s rollicking B-movie gem, Sugar Boxx.
This sassy flick kicks down the door of Russ Meyer’s sexploitation canon, guns a-blazin’, to blast fresh life into the genre’s campy humor, gross-out gore and sexual titillation.
Sugar Boxx follows TV reporter/ass-kicking blonde Valerie March (Geneviere Anderson) as she goes undercover inside Sugar State in 1975. The facility, hidden in the Florida Everglades, is a sort of hellish summer camp where innocent girls clad in skimpy, prison-issued tank tops spend their time sleeping in tents, toiling in swamps and turning tricks. When the ladies of Sugar State finally unleash their revenge in deliciously satisfying style, you will want to stand up and cheer.
Watching Sugar Boxx is like unearthing a treasure, or stumbling on a kick-ass forgotten classic of 1970s B films. The movie even features Meyer muses Kitten Natividad and Tura Satana, together onscreen for the first time, upping its throwback appeal. But Sugar Boxx’s faithful allegiance to its inspirations never undercuts its fresh voice, which makes the film stand out.
It’s not that hard by moviemaking standards to make a bad B movie, as they are by definition cheap and messy, with plenty of plot conventions to fall back on. But to make a good movie that echoes the self-conscious humor and over-the-top antics of women-in-prison films and sexploitation classics without seeming imitative is a very rare thing.
Sugar Boxx effortlessly incorporates the conventions of older films with Jarrett’s distinct and fresh point of view. Sugar Boxx’s sly wit, smart storytelling and lush look are its own, and the movie puts a new spin on the much-loved character and plot elements familiar to B movie aficionados. Because of that Sugar Boxx is right up there, alongside efforts like the 2007 Rodriguez-Tarantino double feature Grindhouse, with the best of modern exploitation films.
“SUGAR BOXX: Inside the Box, With a Twist” is a freelance review by L.A.-based journalist Anna Scott