High school student Emma (Kelsey Zukowski) seems to have the perfect
life: She really gets along fine with her parents (Michael Wexler,
Valerie Meachum), has a nice and understanding boyfriend, Landon (Myke
Wilson), and a best friend, Miles (Michael Dilacova), who's always there
for her. And then someone at school starts the rumour that she's abused by
her father, and everything goes to shambles - and the problem is not so
much that her father's suddenly getting a bad reputation, undeservedly,
but that many don't even see her as victim but as superslut for doing it
with her father (which she didn't).
There's another layer to the problem
though: After a while, Emma isn't even able anymore to either ignore the
rumours or fight back, they take over her mind, and she can't look her
father in the eyes anymore without seeing him as the dirty old man he
isn't, and when having sex with Landon she fantasizes about doing it with
her father - which positively freaks Landon out.
There's just one thing
to do of course, face the source of all these rumours, school bitch
Madison (Melissa Revels) head-on - something that ... well, let's just say
someone does get hurt.
Running a mere 20 minutes, Words Like
Knives is an incredibly powerful film, basically because it doesn't
give its topic the TV Movie of the Week-treatment that simplifies
the story until everybody can agree on the message and there are clear
lines between villain and victim, good and evil. Instead, Words Like
Knives twists and turns through its intentionally problematic and
uncomfortable story without shying away from anything much (and yes,
there's even quite a bit of gore in the finale), helped by a directorial
effort that does focus first and foremost on creating just the right
atmosphere, and a hauntingly powerful performance by Kelsey Zukowski, who
also wrote the script for this one.