Pleasure (Swedish Fantasy Crushing Drama)


Linnea, like many young girls in today’s warp-speed society, wants to be famous and fast. She comes from Sweden and longs to see her name light up social media and will do just about anything in order to achieve that dream. Rechristening herself “Bella Cherry,” she turns to the world of hardcore porn to achieve that goal. What she finds there is everything she wants, yet freedom comes with a serious price… Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure has a visual aesthetic on the level of The Neon Demon and an approach to clinical horror reminiscent of the best of David Cronenberg. This leads to a stunning and rare achievement: a film that cuts through the salacious exterior and makes a very valid point about where we are as a society. This film could have been made about any facet of the entertainment industry and Bella Cherry could just as easily be Danielle Bregholi or Kreayshawn. We live in an age of constant stimulation where career longevity and development are secondary to Follows on Twitter and write-ups on TMZ. Guys like Hunter Moore created a cottage industry out of making random people infamous.


Directorial flourishes aside, Pleasure is also blessed with a fearless and absolutely galvanizing performance by Sofia Kappel as Linnea. The depths she is willing to go in order to convey a mood and a point are nothing short of astounding. She’s the rare actress that can tell you everything you need to know about a scene with a downwards glance or a twitch of the lips. Yet, this is also not a movie for everyone. Some audience members will be unprepared to have their fantasies ruined by the grim reality of porn, which has become such a part of our overstimulated lives that we feel defensive of it at points. Others will claim sight unseen that this is not a horror film. It’s not. Yet we live in an age where the “scary movie” is no longer scary and serves practically the same purpose that porn does: wish fulfillment. Movies like Pleasure and the documentaries of Alex Lee Moyer are the closest thing we have to truly scary movies in these savage new times. Buckle up and enjoy the ride, just don’t touch my shirt after the director’s finished.


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Written by David, Comptroller of Your Last Scrap of Existence

Pleasure (2022, US)
Ninja Thyberg
5 / 5