Zebra Girl: Review. By Julius Tabel.
Zebra Girl tells the story of a woman with a traumatizing past who calls an old friend, so she can help making the dead body of her husband disappear, that she killed because she suspected that he was watching porn. Obviously, the protagonist turns out to be a psychopath and the film tries to portray this by flashbacks and hallucinations.
At some point, this independent production feels actually pretty well-made, but mediocre performances and an easy screenplay with many clichés prove that this never had the chance to be something special. The cinematography is quite creative, and the psychopathic protagonist seems realistic, but unfortunately not very likable, which makes “Zebra Girl”difficult to enjoy.
First of all, the direction by Stephanie Zari seems mostly professional. The cinematography is pretty experimental with many long dollies, interesting perspectives, and even some dolly- zooms. From time to time there are very quick cuts that feel like an anecdote to Darren Aronofsky ́s “Requiem for a Dream”, and this supported the feeling that this person is a psychopath.
This was just a small part of creating a convincing psycho which “Zebra Girl” succeeded to do. We are also shown flashbacks of a disturbing incident in the protagonist ́s childhood. At first, the film confuses the audience with very weird and questionable actions, but the more time it has to explain, the more reasonable this protagonist gets. Another example of that would be her hallucinations. Normally, a cold-blooded killer wouldn ́t have doubts, but this psychopath fears something that only at the end makes very sense.
However, this person is not very likable. On the one hand, she is very annoying with a quick and smart-aleck voice and a not ultimately convincing performance, and on the other hand, she is not a relatable character. It is difficult to link insanity with the audience, but in this case, “Zebra Girl” fails completely. And if you have a story with only very few characters, and your protagonist cannot catch the viewer ́s eye, then it ́s not easy to capture any interests.
Another unconvincing part was the marriage. The film often flashes back to the first date and some happy scenes in the past, but these scenes never emerge the feeling that there is love in this relationship. I liked the approach that Zari (Director) wanted to create some context and a reason why she actually murdered him, but she couldn ́t achieve that. Most of these scenes are unnecessary for the overall understanding and additionally, they make the
entirety feel very weird and uncomfortable. I often had to think about David Fincher ́s “Gone Girl” which is more or less pretty similar to “Zebra Girl”, but Fincher gave us an interesting insight into the happy and sad moments of the marriage. Zari made these scenes feel very misplaced in this already very short feature.
Next on, the friendship between the protagonist and the friend she called to help her is pretty interesting. It starts of very questionably and they seem like close friends, but like they haven ́t seen each other for a very long time. Considering this subject, the film works equally as with the psyche of the protagonist. Every second explains the situation more and more until the audience is presented a very good climax referring to the close friend.
All in all though, “Zebra Girl” stays inside of its own boundaries. It feels really like Zari built a comfort zone and is too afraid to leave it. Although the ending climax is quite surprising, it doesn ́t bring you to the edge of your seat. After the first 5 minutes of the film, there is nothing shocking about it. It ́s not very special.
Considering all these aspects, I can ́t recommend “Zebra Girl”. The best part is the directional approach with nice cinematography and good storytelling in order to portray a convincing psychopath. However, it fails to be relatable, and because of that, most moments left me very cold and not impressed.
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