ZERO STARS/**** Image C- Sound C+
starring Angie Everhart, Richard Grieco, Kevin Fry, Elizabeth Barondes
screenplay by Ed Silverstein
directed by Robert Angelo
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Lacking the camp quality of Zandalee and the sleazy titillation of Wild Orchid, Robert Angelo's neo-Zalman King/soft-porn/direct-to-video abomination Sexual Predator (a.k.a. Last Cry) is full of Richard Grieco moments like the one where he fondles straight razors, huskily droning, "This, this is my favourite," as well as Angie Everhart showcasing her newfound, Mamie Van Doren-esque compulsion to get naked. It is a purported psychosexual thriller that establishes Grieco as the new Mickey Rourke and Everhart as the new Shannon Tweed while simultaneously verifying that both actors have given up.
Beth (Everhart) is a probation officer assigned the case of the man, J.C. Gale (Grieco), who murdered her best friend during an asphyxiation sex game. The launching pad for a bathetic "exploration" of sex and how "society" has made it unnatural, Sexual Predator reaches all-time lows for production values, score, acting, directing, and screenplay. It's cheap, exploitive garbage that would have done better jettisoning what there is of a story in favour of just being a semi-celebrity hardcore porno flick. For a cast so free of illusions, it seems like they're missing out on an opportunity to make some real money rather than depend on the guilty cash of a few thousand horny teenagers too unimaginative, squeamish, or cowardly to rent a slasher flick or genuine pornography.
Not so much kinky as funny, and not so much sexy and passionate as carefully arranged (like a droopy bouquet), Sexual Predator, despite the amount of skin it gleefully flashes, fails to generate any kind of heat or feeling of taboo. It's a child's idea of eroticism: nude playing cards somehow intended to arouse and titillate; the beer model posters decorating fraternity houses. In place of relational kinetics, it presents a cinematic peep-show where the girls can't seem to help ripping their clothes off and dry-humping bad actors. In the film's defence, the fantasy element that works is that if these women will sleep with Richard Grieco, they'll most likely sleep with anyone.
Sexual Predator is a giant shrug of a bad idea of a film, a "what the heck, let's get drunk" kind of movie in which plot is abandoned almost instantly in favour of gratuitous sex scenes and inexplicable trips to the local hoochie-coochie sex club. Making Color of Night look like a good movie is not something I suspect to which many films can lay claim. Still, watching Everhart ponderously arch her massive brow whilst flaring her impressive nostrils in an approximation of lust, not to mention Grieco's hilariously confused death scene, is probably at least worth the price of a rental.
Issued on DVD by Columbia TriStar in a flawed fullscreen (1.33:1) transfer, Sexual Predator suffers from a great deal of edge enhancement and that peculiar lack of processing fluidity that approximates in many sequences the sensation of kids going bonzo with the "frame advance" button. (As many likely will during Sexual Predator.) Black levels suffer from the kind of dullness that indicates an over-skewing of contrast, but as there aren't a great many scenes shot in the dark, it's a relatively minor complaint. The colours are otherwise fine with the abundant flesh tones appearing natural. The Dolby 2.0 surround sound conveys the dialogue with clarity, though there's little opportunity for ambient effects.
An optional French language track confirms that terrible movies are less terrible in French (and terrible actors are suddenly not-bad), and an unusual number of subtitle options clarify the broad audience the studio is targeting with this release. In addition to English, there are subtitles available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The box additionally advertises Chinese, Korean, and Thai, but I wasn't able to access those with my player. There are no other special features save for Sexual Predator's tagline, "The hunt for pleasure is the most basic instinct of all," which cleverly leads poor souls Google-searching for Basic Instinct to this particularly florid mess. Originally published: March 21, 2002.