A Little More Flesh II (2021)

Sam Ashurst

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Starring: Harley Dee, Sean Mahoney, Sam Ashurst

Just last year, Sam Ashurst premiered A Little More Flesh to audiences at Starburst International Film Festival. The director's sophomore feature was a fascinating piece about misogyny, and just one year later, he announced a sequel was coming. True to form, what Ashurst has made is far from a traditional follow-up. In the vein of The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), this is a meta-sequel which takes place in some form of the real world, where the previous instalment exists only as a film. The comparisons only grow with a black-and-white cameo appearance, and the feeling that the director has created something more confrontational. Not only has Ashurst turned the intensity far past 11, he's ripped the knob off to ensure it can't be turned down.

The plot sees director Sam Ashurst making a follow-up to his hit movie, A Little More Flesh. He sets out to make 'Stalker' under unique conditions, hiring actress Harley Dee and poet Sean Mahoney to film 10-minutes of footage a week, for up to 12 weeks. They're told this will be a collaborative creative process, although when Sean drops out of the project, Sam remains intent on finishing the film, by whatever means necessary.

What's been crafted is an experimental look at the filmmaking process, which approaches the darker side in skin-crawling ways. Through the story, we see how a woman has put her trust into the project only to have it abused, which is mirrored with the depraved lengths an abuser will take, while not seeing the issue with their manipulative actions. As we see, the abuser's largest worry is how they're perceived, while utilising the feminist title as a shield for their disgusting behaviour, as though they were Joss Whedon. Most chilling is how they change in tone, turning to belittling once they don't get their own way, resorting to labelling the actress as "difficult".

In the lead role, Harley Dee does excellent work as the bright eyed actor. Seeing the inspirations to Buffalo '66 in the film, she fully believes in this project and just wants to do a good job, even offering her own personal experiences as suggestions for the film's direction. After this initial determination, it's saddening to see the toll this role takes on her, becoming uneasy and weary as things go on. This is exceptionally captured in a scene which involves drinking milk, as what occurs on-screen is set to an unsettling score, resulting in something utterly hypnotic, and one of 2021's most engrossing scenes. It speaks volumes about the situation, how the abuser doesn't care about the victim or what they're feeling, robbing her of an identity in the situation.

There are a few issues within the film, such as how some scenes can run for a bit longer than necessary, although the main one involves the final scene. Credit where it's due, this inclusion highlights an important point about men also being victims of such harassment, yet it feels attached to the wrong film. The tone feels notably lighter, a sharp contrast to what came before it, and leaves an odd taste. This doesn't take away from what Ashurst has created, which is an unflinching look at the repellent abuse of power many victims face. By the end, the audience is made to feel like a voyeur in something utterly chilling, and to feel as though we're crossing a line just by watching what occurs on-screen. There are important topics on this films mind, which are addressed in confrontational ways. It may not be a film for everybody, yet for those willing to try it, you may not forget it so easily.

A Little More Flesh II will have it's world premiere at the Soho Horror Film Festival on Saturday 15th April. You can watch this from your homes for free, and all you have to do is join the Facebook group, where it will be available until midnight the next day.