Forbidden Games

Forbidden Games

This 1995 film was written and directed by Edward Holzman and stars Jeff Griggs as Michael Brandon, a broke and down on his luck former investigator for the Justice Department. He’s currently separated from his wife (Elizabeth Sandifer), who left him due to his lack of financial stability. Michael’s problem is that he has some latent psychic abilities, which were a big help in helping him solve cases, but eventually his “visions” became too overwhelming for him, which is why he quit and has been on disability for the past two years.

Nevertheless, he finds himself contacted by a woman named Shannon Douglas (Lesli Kay, back when she was known as Lesli Kay Sterling), who offers him $300,000 to solve the case of her father, Charles Douglas,’ death. Charles Douglas was a multimillionaire who died a year earlier, supposedly of a heart attack, although the D.A.’s office suspects that it may have been murder. They haven’t been able to prove it yet, but since the case remains open, Charles’ estate can’t be closed and therefor his millions can’t be distributed to his heirs which includes Shannon,  her stepmother, Charles’ young widow, Tonya (Gail Harris), and Charles’s young mistress Shauna (Amy Weber), with whom he also co-owned a modeling agency. Shannon suspects that either Tonya or Shauna murdered her father. So Michael gets to work.

The rest of the film is basically Michael spending his time going back and forth talking to Tonya and Shauna, asking them about Charles and trying to use his physic powers (which are unpredictable, and manifest as random quick visions when he touches certain objects) to determine if either one is lying. Tonya seems to act pretty innocent and is always open to talk to Michael and answer his questions. But Shauna acts differently. She lives in a mansion where several of her models (all women) frolic around in bikinis all day, and is both evasive and flirtatious towards Michael. But as the “investigation” continues, even Shannon becomes a suspect in Michael’s eyes, as he learns that Charles was physically abusive towards all three women, and he was also into some kinky bondage sex. It gets even more complicated his Michael as his visions enter his nightmares, making it hard for him to sleep, and an unhappy encounter with his estranged wife, where she announced her engagement to another man, leads Michael to get involved with one of the models at Shauna’s mansion, and then with Shauna herself, and then finally with Tonya.

So if he’s sleeping with two of the women, how can be objective about which one, if any, committed the crime? Or has he compromised the case completely, and possibly even put himself in danger? WATCH THE FILM TO FIND OUT. (no spoilers).

I’ll give Holzman (who also makes a brief appearance in the film as the local D.A.) credit for the way he shoots the film. It looks very stylish. And I like the way he cuts in the scenes from Michael’s visions at random points. Griggs is a good actor and helps make Michael seems like a sympathetic character, particularly in his scenes with Sandifer, where you can tell that he really wants his wife back. And even when getting seduced by various women, you can’t really blame him. Kay, Harris, and Weber all also standout in the roles, playing them convincingly. While Kay stays clothed in this film, the others get naked and have sex scenes. In my opinion, Harris’ scenes are the hottest. Although Weber has a lesbian scene with Aleksandra Kaniak which is unbelievable. Ashlie Rhey, playing one of Shauna’s models, also has a couple of sex scenes. And also making brief appearances in various stages of undress include Griffen Drew and Becky Mullen.

But for the most part, the sex scenes are brief, and the story ending is a bit predictable, with Michael’s “powers” feeling like a bit of a McGuffin. It’s nice-looking, but at most I can give this film a Chacebook rating of 3 STARS

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