Here’s a long-overdue review. This was requested by a longtime reader of this blog twice, and when he asked the second time I’d thought I’d already reviewed it but I hadn’t. So I had to make a point to watch it again so I could finally review it. And when I did I realized exactly why I’d never gotten around to reviewing it: it’s just not that good (sorry Stephen).
I usually save my opinions for the end of my reviews, but that’s just the honest truth.
Written by April White and Edward Gorsuch, and directed by Lucas Riley, this 2004 film from MRG Entertainment starts Robert Donovon as Homicide Detective Max Connor, and Julien Wells as a former lawyer turned author named Nina Jacobs. Det. Connor is investigating the apparent strangulation murder of a woman, and it turns out that the woman recently been interviewed by Nina, who is doing research for a book that she’s writing about women who use the internet to arrange sexual encounters, the victim is one of several people Nina has talked to who engage in the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation, which is where one person chokes the other right at the moment of climax which, supposedly, increases the enjoyment of their orgasm. At first Det. Connor thinks he has the murderer, the man who admits to choking the victim but claims that not only was it consensual but that she was still alive when he left her. But then when other women who turn up strangled to death, Det. Connor suspects that he may have a serial killer on his hands. And since the other victims also coincidentally turn out to be interview subjects of Nina’s, he thinks that she must be connected somehow. Can the two of them figure out the killer’s identity before any other women are murdered?!?
So that’s the premise of the film and as erotic thrillers go it’s pretty good, there’s a lot of potential for a compelling story, but it just sort of falls flat to me, and not enough thought was put it into it. Or maybe you could argue that I’ve watched too many of these films, because I swear I could guess the ending before the film barely got started.
***SPOILER ALERT COMING***
David Usher plays Nina’s boyfriend Ethan. They’ve been together for five months but she breaks up with him because she feels that he’s moving too fast (he’s at her house all the time and answers her phone without her permission, she said it feels like he was trying to move in). This happens under 13 minutes into the film (with an hour and 13 minutes still left) and I swear, as soon as she kicks him out of her house I said to myself that he’s going to turn out to be the killer. And I was right! So there was zero suspense for the remainder of the film. And there are some other narrative failures as well.
Susan Hale plays Samantha, she’s the first murder victim. Trevor Zen plays Jacob, the man who had sex with her and get questioned for her murder. And even though he admits choking her he’s not arrested that first night. You’d think that would be an open and shut case. But it’s not until Det. Connor questions Nina about him and her book and talks to another subject of hers who also arranged for sex with Jacob but stopped when she says he tried to choke her against her will that Conner decides to arrest him. But then when Connor goes to Jacob’s house to arrest him he’s found dead of an apparent suicide. But the so-called suicide is so sloppy and unrealistic, as Jaboc is found lying face-down, on his living room floor, with an open bottle of pills in his hand.
Because that’s how you kill yourself, stand up and take some kind of poison pills and then immediately fall down dead?
Nevertheless, Connor’s partner Det. Holden (Timothy Stang) takes the scene at face value, assuming that this proves that Jacob did it and couldn’t take the guilt. But Connor suspects otherwise (including noting to Holden that there’s no suicide note even though they hadn’t even checked the rest of the house yet to see if there is one), and is proven correct when a second victim is found.
So Connor and Nina basically team-up to investigate the subjects of her book, to see what connection there is to whomever is committing the murders and try to stop him before he kills again. There’s a pretty forced relationship that quickly develops between the two after they have sex, and this is supposed to add more tension to the film as Connor gets worried that Nina’s life could be in danger, but it just didn’t make sense to me, considering that Nina just ended one relationship for moving too fast, and the two actors just didn’t have much chemistry.
Dru Berrymore plays a dominatrix named Mistress Sylvana, who had previously arranged a sex session with Jacob. Alana Evans, Mary Shannon, and Felony all play other women that we see Nina interview about their online sexual escapades. And we get a total of 11 sex scenes (although a few aren’t full-sex) involving each of them. The scenes are hot enough but another problem for me is that Berrymore and Shannon are the only women in this film that I find really attractive. The rest, including Julien Wells are just kind of average. So the sex scenes aren’t enough to save the film for me. And like I said, I’d guessed the ending, so when Ethan is revealed as the killer it was anti-climactic.
The actors do a good job with what they’re given, and it’s well-directed, but overall this is film that I could just skip. Chacebook rating: THREE STARS
Jason Majercik is selling this UNRATED DVD for $24.99. Email him at email@example.com for his softcore inventory list
Categories: SOFTCORE FILMS