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SOCKET
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Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton

Directed by: Sean Abley

Starring:
Derek Long
Matthew Montgomery
Alexandra Billings

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Dr. Bill Matthews gets struck by lightning (bad day I guess), and while recovering he is invited into a secret circle by an intern working at the hospital. As Dr. Matthews discovers, it’s a very special group of people who have all been victims of electrocution in the past. Now, they are addicted to electric current and like to get together and “juice up.” Yahoo.
Is it good movie?
The perverse sexual symbolism of David Cronenberg seems to be a major inspiration for SOCKET. Like CRASH, SOCKET is about people with a really bizarre fetish. While that’s not one of Cronenberg’s better films, it’s still more interesting than this dramatically inert sci-fi drama, which collapses under the weight of its own preposterous story. It tries damn hard to be controversial and provocative, but SOCKET is little more than a thin excuse for a soft-core gay sex fantasy. The gay content in the film is pretty high (uhhh, have a look at the cover). There's no graphic sex but the frontal male nudity becomes gratuitous; after about the fifth shot of a floppy penis, I was ready to call it a day. If you’re into gay-themed cinema you might get a few kicks out it, but even still SOCKET is too derivative and absurd to be taken seriously.

The scene when Bill(Derek Long) first joins the secret meeting of the "electrophiles" after being tempted along by intern Craig (Matthew Montgomery) is especially silly. The people all tell stories of when their lives changed, and how they felt empty and were craving something they couldn't quite place. The scene appears to be striving for a darkly comic tone, but instead feels awkwardly flat. Anyway, after joining hands with the group and having an electric charge surge through them, Bill finds himself getting “hooked on the feeling” and begins to live for the sensation of the current pumping through his body.

As the story goes on, there's a bit of a twist that mirrors another Cronenberg film, eXistenZ, and the overtly sexual "plugging in" theme that film covered. This is where things get really icky and the film delves even further into the pseudo-sci-fi realm. We essentially understand that the electric current is making these people high, but SOCKET never develops itself into something other than an obvious sex/drug metaphor. This is familiar territory and it's been done better before.

Sean Abley's direction is sloppy. Performances have a calculated, cardboard feel that makes the characters seem straight out of a sitcom. Other than Bill, who travels down the typical road of an addict, there's no real effort made to flesh out any of these people. Visually, the film is a bore - it’s not surprising that Abley shot it in nine days. The "plugging in" sequences are presented many times with the same quick-cut montage of images from the film, divided by static and audio played backwards. Not exactly revolutionary stuff.
Video / Audio
The Extras
Last Call
SOCKET so badly wants to titillate you with its depraved sexual symbolism, but the film never fascinates in the way that a Cronenberg film would. It's a shallow, off-putting piece of work that will probably inspire an urge to laugh before anything else. If a gay Cronenberg film without the subtexts and subtlety of an actual Cronenberg film sounds promising to you, go nuts.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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