There’s an intriguing premise set up at the beginning of Nick Simon’s horror film “The Girl in the Photographs.” Young supermarket clerk Colleen (Claudia Lee) is tormented by grisly snapshots left for her discovery by a serial killer in sleepy Spearfish, S.D.
She matches the composition from one of the bloody photos of a young female victim to a provocative ad for “American Clothing,” and therein lies the film’s proposition — a comparison between the objectification of fashion photography to the brutal and bloody crimes of a small-town murderer.
There isn’t enough mystery and ambiguity around the murders to create a sense of fear or dread, yet there’s something rather effectively creepy and compelling, with its retro thrills and chills. Unfortunately, the spunky Colleen is denied the chance to be the classic, empowered “final girl.” This results in a nasty and nihilistic perspective that feels misplaced. Still, the performances, especially by Penn, are entertaining enough to sustain this minor horror flick.
“The Girl in the Photographs”
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Playing: Vintage Loz Feliz 3.