Thursday, 19 April 2018

Illicit Desires (4½ Stars)

I've been waiting for this film for a long time. Usually Retromedia releases their films on DVD shortly after they're first shown on television. In this case they waited more than a year. The catalogue number is REG 2207, which means it's older than the four most recent films I have. Yes, I buy every film directed by Dean McKendrick. Is there any reason why I shouldn't?

What I didn't know until I watched the film today is that "Illicit Desires" is the biggest film of August Ames' career. In all the other films I've watched she had a small or moderately significant role, but this time she played the lead role. There won't be a bigger film for her now. She committed suicide by hanging herself in a park last December.

The film opens as does "Basic Instinct". A man is having sex with a dominant woman. His satisfaction is short-lived. She walks away leaving him dead. As in "Basic Instinct", the woman is unrecognisable. Supposedly. She's wearing a mask, but it was easy for me to recognise August even without seeing her face. I've seen her naked often enough to know her body. The dead man isn't named, but it's the actor Andy Long. The scene is only inserted to let us know it's a murder story.

From then on we see August without her mask. She plays Bridget, an intern in an advertising company called M3. Her colleague Garrett, about whom she suspiciously knows much too much, is struggling to create a new advertising campaign for dildos. Maybe a woman should have been given the job. How can he promote something he's never used? Bridget comes to his assistance. She makes an extremely sexual promotional video which impresses his bosses, but they say he has to tone it down a bit.

Video number two is made, but Bridget exchanges the flash drive before he takes it to work. It's a video of Garrett and Bridget having sex. As a result Garrett is fired. Bridget claims she's punishing him because he only wanted her for sex, but by this time we already know she's crazy. It was her who seduced him, not the other way round. We know there will be more dead bodies, and the next is one of Garrett's younger ex-colleagues, found in an alley with Garrett's letter-opener in his chest.

This is the best erotic thriller made by Dean McKendrick so far. He's way too modest. He says that his priority is to make films as quickly as possible -- usually within one day -- so if a film turns out well it's just luck. I almost said that this time he was lucky, but that would be an insult. He obviously knows what he's doing. The only thing I can fault him on his is sound editing. In "Model for Murder" the dialogue is drowned out by the sound of the waves at the beach.

I enjoyed the film greatly, but as I sat afterwards my emotions were of sadness. What a waste of a young life! August died less than a year after this film was made. The cyberbullies who drove her to suicide still haven't apologised, as far as I know. They still think that it was her fault for being too sensitive when they told her to kill herself.

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