Caged Women II (1996)
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Nicole (Deborah Dutch) is an aspiring singer who decides to hitchhike her way across the nation. She's picked up (in a friendly way) by a female sheriff (Nikki Fritz) and taken back to the sheriff's house, where she's covertly drugged. After taking a shower while the sheriff (unbeknownst to Nicole) shoots up heroin, Nicole passes out on the sheriff's couch. Changing into lingerie, the sheriff goes down into the living room where Nicole is sleeping in only white thong panties and full make-up (of course; a girl has to look her best at all times) and like a pied piper, guides Nicole into the sheriff's bedroom where a pretty good lesbian sex scene takes place.
Afterwards, Nicole is chained to a wall in the basement by the sheriff. As it turns out, Sheriff Riely is part of a ring where unsuspecting girls are captured and used for snuff shows for paying customers. We see an unknown girl, wearing a striped prisoner blouse and black panties, led into a giant cage where she's handcuffed to a chair. Having changed into a Dominatrix ensemble, Sheriff Riley oils up her victim and whips her (lightly) across the tummy. This goes on for awhile and when the show is over, its really over. The victim is shot through the head (in silhouette; we don't see any blood).
Still captive, Nicole urinates into a metal bowl while in another part of the house the sheriff is surprised to find her partner and two paying customers waiting. Apparently the customers have paid good money for some alone time with the next performer/victim - Nicole. Even though she's not happy with this change in the business model, the sheriff reluctantly agrees. Next we see the two customers sitting on the sheriff's bed as Nicole, now dressed in black thong panties, black strapless bra, and black robe, is led into the room by the business partner. The partner seductively disrobes Nicole, then steps aside. One of the customers pulls Nicole onto the bed and... fade to black.
The plot is told by a retired police detective (Ivan Rogers) first to a news reporter, then later to a local waitress he knows. I suppose this is a good way to skip over what would otherwise be dead time in the story, but it cheats the viewer of the dramatic build-up by skipping straight to the good parts.
Next, Nicole is in the cage, tied to the wall. The sheriff, in her Dominatrix outfit, oils up Nicole's chest, then whips her. The whipping is light although its clearly meant to be a lot rougher. There was also some continuity issue here as, when we see the whip, Nicole's shirt is down, but when we see her facial reaction, the shirt is up. It kind of ruins what could have been a much better scene. After her whipping, the Dom sheriff takes a cigarette and burns Nicole's tummy. Later, when we see Nicole, there is no burn mark. Because the partnership doesn't yet have their next victim lined up, Nicole is spared execution and returned to her chains in the basement.
As the detective tells it, Nicole somehow manages to knock out the sheriff, get the key to her shackles, and escape. The sheriff pursues, armed with a long-barrel shotgun. If you're into "pursuit and capture", you'll enjoy this part as Nicole runs through the woods barefoot, wearing only her white thong panties and a sleeveless crop-cut shirt. Another girl witnesses Nicole's recapture and is taken prisoner, to become the next victim and pretty much guaranteeing that Nicole's next performance will be her last.
The sheriff takes Nicole and the new girl into the cage, tying Nicole's wrists to a bar mounted on the wall while the new girl is handcuffed to a cell bar. Just as things are about to get started, Nicole's boyfriend, who has been looking for her since she left home, comes running in, along with the police detective. There's a brief shootout and the sheriff is killed. Roll the epilogue and cue credits.
Generally, the acting isn't bad. Deborah Dutch is easy on the eyes, but Nikki Fritz' obviously fake breasts are a distraction. It's a shame, really, because Nikki is a lovely woman otherwise, and not a bad actress. The best scene is Nicole's stripping in front of the paying customers, and Dutch does a good job selling Nicole's humiliation and fear. The bondage scenes, which are supposed to shock and horrify us, don't, which is a surprise since California has plenty of studios churning out that stuff. Horror is obviously not the director's forte. I really expected to see the third girl "prepped" for her next show by being stripped, but I guess the actress wanted too much money for her skin shots. Oh well, at least Dutch, Fritz, and the girl in the chair deliver.
The story would've played much better if Nicole had found her own strength, saved the new girl, and shot/killed the sheriff and her partner that were running the snuff shows. After all, Nicole had the sheriff unconscious. Why didn't she just finish her off, then wait for the partner to show up and off her, too? Having the boyfriend save Nicole sort of cheats the feminist side of the genre. Oh well. Another opportunity missed.
There are better films in the women-in-prison genre and I'm sure this one will eventually be forgotten due to its miscues. If it weren't for the acting and beauty of Deborah Dutch, this movie wouldn't be worth the time. She really does carry the film. For her, this is a movie to be proud of, as proof that she can take a two-dimensional character and give it some depth.