Women have long been put into a position where they are uncomfortable and cornered because we have been made to feel that an ‘opportunity’ is more important than prioritising our safety first. For far too long women in various industries have been forced to accept being in dangerous situations, because it is what they have to do in order to get ahead in the world; thing of all those times where it has been suggested that women would need to sleep with their boss to get a promotion… But attitudes are beginning to shift towards reality, and acceptance that women do not feel that they have to accept danger in order to make something for themselves in this world. Which is exactly what Sam Ashurst and Harley Dee’s 2021 film A Little More Flesh II aims to do; with a perspective defining style and a tough portrayal of real-life abuse of boundaries, this film really hones in on how women are constantly faced with danger, especially in the workplace.
A Little More Flesh II is written by the talented Harley Dee, who also stars as the leading actress alongside Sean Mahoney as support, with appearances from Sam Ashurst, Lauren Ashley Carter, Elf Lyons and Lloyd Kaufman. In this hyper-realistic film we watch as Sam directs Harley on-screen in a movie only titled ‘Stalker’, which starts off with an undertone of creepiness but essentially feels like a harmless interaction between two actors creating something with their director. Gradually the audience become bystanders to gaslighting and manipulation, which although starts off subtly and with enough excuses to be something Harley brushes off, continues to build into something more and more depraved until it becomes clear that our lead actress in this film is at serious harm from the director she is supposedly working for.
Before you head into this one, it is essential that you watch Ashurst’s first film, A Little More Flesh (read the review here), which focuses on one director’s commentary as he recalls the film he made in the 70s. The director himself believes there were some small nuances and that he acted professionally and respectfully, but as we see the scenes unfold within the film and behind the scenes footage, we become aware that Stanley was a predator that took advantage of the women in his story, and acted completely inappropriately – abusing them throughout. The follow on to this film also explores how within the film industry many female actors are often put into dangerous situations, ones where a severe lack of care from the director is overwhelmingly abundant. Harley’s writing is powerful and comes from a place of true understanding just how frightening it is to be a woman in particular industries, and how even in modern day society, we are still constantly found in positions of being abused, and without the possibility of speaking out against the abuser.
This messaging is one that is incredibly hard to sit through. A Little More Flesh II isn’t a film that was designed to provoke through excessive gore and violence like other similar disturbing and controversial films, this is a film that was designed to really force the viewer to confront a hard truth. There is a recognition that many people might find this film too difficult to sit through, and due to that, a trigger warning regarding gaslighting and abuse is needed here because for anyone that has been stalked, manipulated and assaulted, this might be best to avoid. However, it’s a film that has a point to make and a message that we need to continue talking about because in all honesty, until scenarios like the one portrayed in the film cease, the conversation has to go on.
There were certain scenes in this film that made me want to look away from the screen, because it felt so personal, real and relatable. The ending does feel as though it tries to reprimand the abuser, however, the tonality felt a little forced, taking away some of the sincerity of the film – but it was Ashurst and Dee’s way of ensuring the predator does not get away with his heinous actions. Regardless of that minor point, the film is unique, provocative and is an essential piece of viewing to understand the risks that women in the film industry are still faced with. A Little More Flesh II is a realistically disturbing depiction of power abuse, forcing us to confront the gut-wrenching truth regarding the safety of women in society.
Rating: 4.5 stars