An American diplomat and his fiancée venture into the sordid underworld of sex and pornography in Budapest, Hungary to find out who is blackmailing them with a porno video taken of them with a prostitute.
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
Private investigator Tom Welles is hired by the recently widowed Mrs. Christian who has found a startling pornographic film in her late husband's possessions. In the film a teenage girl is apparently killed and Welles is pretty sure it's a genuine snuff film. He takes the case, first going through records of runaways finally identifying the girl and learning that she may have run off to California. There he enters the seedy underworld of pornography with the help of Max California, a porn store clerk. His principal clue is the masked man who killed the girl as he has a unique tattoo on his hand. He soon finds the culprits but there is little satisfaction in resolving the mystery. Written by
Some sensitive-minded people may surely be disturbed by the dark revenge and self-justice in this film, but "Se7en"-author Andrew Kevin Walker has done another fine work with his script! Although the storyline is obviously taken from Paul Schrader´s "Hardcore" (1974,?) the film is suspense-packed, violent and endowed with good performances of its actors, especially Peter Stormare did a brilliant job with playing the weird bondage-porn director Dino Velvet! I also was truly surprised how good director Joel Schumacher had created a morbid atmosphere, just in unhappy memory of his disastrous "Batman & Robin"-flick..! Another pleasant fact is, that "8MM" doesn´t deal with the Hollywood-typical stereotypes and clichés, so finally we´ve got something we could really call a dirty mainstream production - or at least a nice try of it!
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