‘Level 16′ Review: YA Dystopia Done Right, with a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Twist | Fantastic Fest

Collider | 9/29/2018 | Haleigh Foutch
finter (Posted by) Level 4
Click For Photo: http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/level-16.jpg

Nobody Wants an Unclean Girl. After all, cleanliness is a virtue. And all the girls of the Vestalis Academy must adhere to the virtues if they ever hope to find a good home.

Set in a grey and weathered industrial building out of place and time, the dystopian thriller Level 16 is a timely feature about feminine power that follows the teenage girls of the Academy through the years of their mysterious schooling, each year bringing them to a new level, where they’re dressed in matching drab gowns and taught with an iron fist to adhere to the virtues of femininity. Cleanliness, yes, but also obedience, humility and patience. Fail to comply, and you’re taken “downstairs” for brutal punishment.

Heroine - Vivien - Katie - Douglas - Way

Our heroine Vivien (Katie Douglas) learned that lesson the hard way back in Level 10, when she helped her friend Sophia (Celina Martin) avoid punishment, only to wind up experiencing it for herself. Six years later, the two meet again in Level 16 with the promise of graduation and adoption waiting just around the corner. but Sophia knows a secret — nothing is what it seems, and Vestalis is no orphanage, it’s something much worse.

The girls have grown up in this system — this one building — with the sun never touching their face, taught to believe the air outside is poisonous, and they don’t know any different; a fact that makes them painfully naive and compliant, willingly bowing their heads and idolizing the antiquated behavior of the old-timey actresses they see on “moving-picture night.” Their matriarch, Miss Brixil (Sarah Canning) is a platinum-haired boss **** with a whiff of BDSM who is distinctly neither obedient nor patient, but a determined enforcer of the rules that keep the academy in business — a female oppressor of women, who’s insecurity...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Collider
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