Monday, August 28, 2006

REVIEW: MURDER IS LIKE SEX


Writer-Director Keith Boron certainly isn't into wasting any time. For his first feature, rather than go the "safe" route of producing a formulaic, easy-to-digest horror film that's easily classifiable and sell-able, Keith instead chose to tell a very unconventional, twisted, funny, and brutally honest story that easily ranks up there with the most unique movies I've ever seen, and definitely something that only the independent film world could produce (but seldom does, unfortunately).

MURDER IS LIKE SEX centers on Kevin Wright (Jayson Garity), a chronic masturbator (!!!) toiling away as a record store clerk, the kind of guy who never really adjusted to life after high school. He wants more out of life, but has no idea how to go about getting it, so instead he just spends his time watching movies, hanging out with his buddies, and incessantly jerking off. Not long after we meet Kevin, his sexual frustration reaches such a palpable zenith that it physically manifests itself in the form of the murderous Lisa (Robyn Griggs), who first enters his life as an innocent-enough next door neighbor, but soon becomes much, much more. It's not long before Kevin finds himself at the center of a murder investigation, trying to figure out Lisa's true nature and beat a murder rap all at once. Oh yeah, and he just might find true love. We mustn't forget about true love.

Such a wild concept and daring script can easily be lost in translation from page to screen if not executed properly, and the HTM Films crew prove themselves to be more than capable of pulling it off. MURDER IS LIKE SEX is not only an exceptionally original story, but is also outstanding from a production standpoint. Picture and sound quality are top-notch, it's well photographed and competently scored and edited. This movie could easily play cable television, joining the pantheon of movies you catch at 3am and say to yourself, "I'm only gonna watch like 5 minutes", but you end up entranced and staying awake to finish it, dragging your heels at work the next day, trying desperately to describe to your friends what you've seen. The multiple locations, production value, costumes and shot composition alone place this film high above average for a microbudget release.

And while the movie centers on a male character, it's the lead women in the picture that end up stealing the show. Robyn Griggs is extremely impressive as Lisa, the "heavy" role that could have easily been ruined by a hammy, contrived, by-the-numbers horror villain shtick. Robyn's expert, memorable delivery of dialog in the film's most intense scenes recalls Robbie Lee's legendary performance as Lace in Jack Hill's SWITCHBLADE SISTERS, wide-eyed and teeth firmly clenched. Perfect. However, the surprise hit of the movie for me was newcomer Heather Summers as Kevin's girlfriend, the kind of unremarkable 'chick' role with not a whole lot to do. Heather manages to do something you rarely ever see actors do with a secondary part, regardless of budget, making a distinct impression every time she's on screen. Her facial expressions are always interesting and deep, her choices for line delivery are refreshing, and she says more with just her eyes than some actors do in the span of a career. I walked away endlessly impressed with and happy about the female performances in this film, I knew to expect quality from Robyn, but was pleasantly surprised with Heather Summers, and hope she continues acting.

MURDER IS LIKE SEX is a risky title and an appropriately risky film, a rare find amongst the tired and seen-it-before world of direct to video thrillers, and I send my most sincere thanks to everyone involved for being brave enough to even attempt bringing such a unique tale to the screen. In my view, it's a movie about personal accountability and responsibility in the adult world, about the death of innocence and how you can never go back, but most importantly about the importance of love and healthy relationships. Throw in multiple stab wounds, out-of-body experiences and oral sex, and you got yourself one hell of a great flick.

DVD EXTRAS:
The super-nice list of features includes audio commentary with the cast and crew, 10-minute outtake/blooper reel, trailer, and "Maximum Satan" music video. The movie audio during the commentary track was a bit loud for my taste, and at times I had difficulty hearing the people talk, but it could have just been my old-ass TV. The overall DVD presentation of MURDER IS LIKE SEX is unusually professional and impressive for a microbudget release. Go buy it!

2 Comments:

Blogger Keith said...

Andrew,

I want to thank you not only for watching and reviewing the movie, but also for your interest, support and advice since the begining of the project.

Keith

September 2, 2006 at 1:20:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Keith said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 2, 2006 at 1:24:00 AM PDT  

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