August 31, 1986: Dangerously unhinged serial killer Johnathan Glick gets released from the Nevada State Penitentiary on a technicality. Three days after his release Johnathan arrives in Las... See full summary »
"Body Fever" is a semi-comic take on complex private eye movies. It's a cheap independent production, but don't hold that against it because for the money it's quite entertaining and there are Hollywood productions that spend 10,000 times as much money and fall flat.
The guiding entrepreneur and artist behind this is Ray Dennis Steckler, and he plays the hero and detective. Using a noir staple, the private eye, he sometimes narrates ironically and that provides some amusement as he is a flawed character and knows it. The plot is complex, with quite a few characters who know one another, and that intricacy provides some ironic humor of its own. The story involves a theft of drugs from an associate of Big Mac. It's partly an inside job, but the woman who steals the drugs herself gets robbed. Mac wants the drugs found and the associate hires Steckler to find the woman. As he follows leads, he finds his way to Mac's pool hall, not knowing that Mac has instigated the entire search. He further pretends to know Mac, adding to the irony. This is but one meeting as he works his way through the world of seedy characters, photographers, thieves, goons, addicts, and women of easy virtue.
The film is unpolished or crude. This at times makes it evident that we are watching awkward scenes and breaks the illusion of the fourth wall or the suspension of disbelief. That is, we know we are watching the story while experiencing these flaws and our absorption in the movie declines. The direction is also quite often sub-par for one reason or another. But Steckler at the same time has given us quite a bit of bang for the buck.
I took a look because other reviews mention its film noir relation. Well, it's not film noir but it's in the private eye category and that takes it some distance. And Steckler shows a good deal of creativity in providing his own refreshing take on that.
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