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While She Was Out

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2008

What begins as Lifetime-esque fluff turns into quite an enjoyable exercise in the female-revenge genre in "While She Was Out." This Kim Basinger vehicle "? produced in part by Guillermo Del Toro, no less "? deserves a wider audience "¦ even if said audience might cringe at the level of violence.

Basinger plays Della, an unhappy, abused housewife who's forced to become the abuser after she's trapped in the woods by a quartet of hoodlums on Christmas Eve, having witnessed their murder of a shopping center security guard.

At first, she runs and cowers in fear, like a victim. Then, her survival instinct kicks in, and "? armed only with an arsenal of emergency tools from her wrecked SUV "? she strikes back and picks them off one by one. "Home Depot MILF Massacre" is a more apt title for it.

The film reminded me of a lower-wattage version of Basinger's "Cellular," another gem of a thriller putting the blonde beauty in feature-length peril. She's an actress who's good when used wisely, and this is one of those cases. But will her core of fans be up for seeing what she does with a tire iron?

I certainly was. Even with its occasional laughs and unconvincing gangster-speak by Lukas Haas, its willingness to get its hands dirty won me over.

"?Rod Lott

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