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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

The Winner Takes It All **

Starring: Maxi Shield, Manuel Kornisiuk, Jessica Marchi, Jack Stratton-Smith

Director: James Demitri

Country: Australia

In this camp thriller, Drag Race Down Under contestant Maxi Shield stars as Maxine, the larger than life BFF of wealthy socialite Kiki (Marchi), who confides in her that she believes her husband (Kornisiuk) is cheating on her. Maxine keeps quiet, but she indeed knows this to be true; mostly because she’s been having sex with him. But she’s not the only one. And when Kiki winds up dead, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse begins as the truth about what happened to her slowly unravels.

There’s more than a whiff of Divine about Shield, both in appearance and in the unusual decision to cast a drag queen in a part that doesn’t appear to be a drag queen. John Waters-esque in its B-movie eccentricity, it rests heavily on the contrast between the muscle-bound Kornisiuk and the grotesquery of Shield. It looks great as a result, but that’s about all this film has going for it.

Its plot is nonsensical, with twists and backstabbing in abundance. The camera drinks its high melodrama, with big hair, big reactions and lots of heavy breathing. It wants to titillate and repulse in equal measure with campery turned up to eleven, but the story is such a mess that all these genre tropes are just window-dressing on a lame product.

UK Release: Out now on DVD and VOD, released by TLA Releasing


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