After returning home from a two week trial in Chicago, Rachel Bishop finds her sister Emily Bishop missing. She then finds her sister in what appears to be a well done snuff film where she ...
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After returning home from a two week trial in Chicago, Rachel Bishop finds her sister Emily Bishop missing. She then finds her sister in what appears to be a well done snuff film where she appears to be murdered. Disregarding the FBI's warning, Rachel probes into her sisters disappearance. She further finds out her sister was working as a Dominatrix at an unusual underground adult establishment in Detroit called the Playground. Rachel soon finds herself involved with the Playground and on the killers hit list. The chase is on...Written by
David Michael Waszak <DetroitFilmMaker@juno.com>
Although the premise for this movie sounded interesting enough, I was not expecting a whole hell of a lot. The basic plot of a woman going undercover in the world of stripping/porn/S&M has been done to death in b-movies especially during the heyday of the 80's. I have seen this so many times that I figured that it would be yet another retread of a sub-genre that has already seen its best product but I was pleasantly surprised as this was a more mature take on the genre that focused more on the story than extended nude scenes. Although I am not one to complain about abundant nudity, it was interesting to see this type of story told from more of a mystery angle rather than a T&A angle. We have plenty of examples of the latter from companies like New Horizons back in the day.
Rachel Nord stars as Rachel, a lawyer who learns of the death of her dominatrix sister by way of a video that was recorded when the death footage was aired on television. Rachel decides to investigate the murder on her own and befriends another dominatrix named Simone (Alicia Bewernitz) who shows her the proper way to use a whip and introduces her to the people who run a local adult establishment called "The Playground". In a great audition involving the role-playing of a substitute teacher, a naked guy in a chair, and a hammer and nail, Rachel proves herself and is invited to continue to work at the establishment. Things get a little weirder in a sequence that is a twisted take on a scene from Alice In Wonderland as Rachel does what she feels she needs to to find the truth behind her sister's death and whether or not snuff films really exist.
I always enjoy it when a filmmaker makes an effort with a bit of style to compensate for a low budget. This can elevate a run-of-the-mill thriller that we have seen a million times to something much more interesting. Through the use of 16mm film, digital video, and thought placed in angles and editing (such as split screen and some black and white footage), the filmmakers have succeeded in giving us a film that goes by quickly and deviates from the usual plot skeleton of a film of this nature. This is helped immensely from the performance of Nord who effectively portrays a woman who is able to immerse herself in some strange situations due to her drive to discover what happened to her sister. We also have a psycho involved who is killing off various sex-trade workers by tapping into their televisions and filming himself in real time as he breaks into their house and murders them all while they are able to see what is happening on the tube. This was and original and frightening concept and one that I have never seen before.
My only complaint with the movie was a number of flashbacks to the childhood of Rachel and Emily that I found to be unnecessary. These sequences did not have any relevance to the story as far as I could tell and seemed like more of an excuse to cast Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) rather than move the story forward. For the amount of time that Hansen is in the film, they could have fit him anywhere in the film and it would not have been so distracting trying to figure out why these sequences existed. Still, this is not a big deal and it did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. There were also some sound issues in a few scenes where the dialogue sounded different than the rest of the film. Though this was noticeable, it was not bad enough to cause too much of a concern to the viewer (especially when you are used to much crappier sound from the shot-on-video days of J.R. Bookwalter and E.I. Cinema in the early 90's).
Nord has not done anything of note since this film aside from a role as a waitress in Zombie Honeymoon. We get nude scenes from Bewernitz and Kathy Gauthier as well as a few decent yet restrained gore effects. (Josh Pasnak, 9/3/06)
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