Karla (2006) Film Review

Karla

Karla

Starring Laura Prepon, Misha Collins and Patrick Bauchau

Directed by Joel Bender

Based on the true story of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo

Before I even begin to write about this film, I think it’s important to share this article “Before you watch Karla” which lists reasons why you should NOT watch this movie.  I only discovered this article when I was in the middle of watching it but I, of course, kept watching it anyway.

I found this film on the US Netflix and it is not shocking that the Canadian Netflix would not want to have a movie about two notorious Canadian Serial Killers on their site.  Several people wanted to boycott the movie, saying it should not be released, including the families of the real victims.  They said it would taint the memory of the women whose lives were taken.

We all either remember the real life events in the news or have at least heard of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.  I will not get into the details of their crimes, you can easily find information on the case online.  I will say that this film does a great job at making you feel sick over what this husband and wife team did.

At first, I only started watching it because I love Laura Prepon and I didn’t even pay attention to the name of the film. I have also loved Patrick Bauchau ever since he played Sydney on The Pretender (best show ever).  As soon as I heard them mention Bernardo, I hesitated and wondered if I should even continue watching it.  Since I had taken Correctional Intervention in CEGEP, I knew of what the couple had done and I did not know if I would be able to handle the film.

Throughout the film we are focusing on how the events took place from the view of Karla Homolka.  Towards the end you almost get a sense that they were trying to show how innocent she was in all of it and that when she was involved in the murders it was because she was intimidated and abused by Bernardo.

 As a viewer, I was upset because she was NOT innocent (spoiler if you don’t know the facts) she killed her little sister within the first 20 minutes of the film.  Therefore, I thought they were trying to make Karla look a bit too angelic.  However, at the very end, they had notes on what was said alongside the verdict. Which, demonstrated that Homolka showed no remorse or empathy and it displays that there was psychosis involved.  I was happy to see that towards the very end they at least mentioned she was not the innocent party the rest of the film had portrayed her to be (with the exception of a few scenes of course).

Sidenote: I did not recall what the outcome was for Bernardo and Homolka in real life so after looking it up, I found the Homolka was released and is now living with her husband and their three children while Bernardo is still in prison.  As of 2005, Homolka never reached out to the families of the victims.

This film is hard to watch.  I usually don’t have a problem with thrillers, horror films, gore etc. but I think when I know it’s based on real life events, it changes everything.  I can completely understand why the actors and actresses involved in the film would have nightmares after filming.  They were disgusted while filming it and (as the article above stated) the working conditions on set were bizarre and uncomfortable… which is perhaps why there was barely any press done by Laura Prepon about doing this film.

The film is well done, however I don’t know many people who would want to watch a movie about the crimes they committed. I’m sorry there is not a lot I can say about this film.  I will only watch this film once for that is enough.

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