PLOT: When a young couple dumbly decides to record a sex tape in an abandoned abortion clinic, a nasty demonic entity from the past comes a calling.
REVIEW: F*ck me! Just when I thought I couldn't detest a movie more than ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE, the firmly established and well accomplished Bernard Rose (CANDYMAN, PAPERHOUSE) comes along with the temerity of SX_TAPE, a masturbatory mess of a movie I honestly couldn't finish in a single sitting. Shot, edited and directed by Rose from a script by first-timer Eric Reese - I guess this is what happens when a talented director from a bygone era is reduced to working in the micro-budget world of trendy "found-footage" garbage, and the self-indulgence that can result in the wake of such "creative" freedom. Put simply, nothing of note EVER happens in SX_TAPE. It's boring, predictable, platitudinous and downright annoying...a flick so inept the title isn't even spelled correctly! I never thought I'd say this, but think I'd rather watch an actual sex-tape of one of those vapid, reality-TV Armenian D-listers. You know the ones I mean!
So Adam and Jill are a young 20-something couple intent on filming themselves having sex. You know, because that's (still) what all the kids do these days. And what better place to do so than in a dark, dingy, disgusting abortion clinic that's long been condemned? Perfect right? Fucking ridiculous, as is pretty much everything else featured in SX_TAPE. You see, Adam (Ian Duncan) used to live by the old abortion clinic, and warily knows of its troubled history. Still intrigued however, he documents an initial tour of the place, which means he stays behind the shitty shaky camera, out of sight, for almost the entirety. In front of the camera for an equal measure is Jill (Caitlyn Folley), who starts off looking like a young Connie Britton - bright, sexy, sparkly - but by the end comes off like a haggard Courtney Love after a coked-up dick sucking marathon - crying, moaning, wailing. This poor girl gets thrown through the flames, and despite growing unbearably shrill towards the end, I give the aptly named Folley credit for doing all she can to give a range of emotions some credence in an otherwise unconvincing picture. This girl deserves better!
Once the initial tour of the hospital is underway, it isn't long before the mood sours. On some wannabe kinkiness, Jill straps herself down to a filthy, piss-ridden gurney. Adam stays silent, whizzes by and scares her to near-death, but it isn't long before she forgives him by sucking his dick. They start boning, he filming in POV, but then her nose suddenly starts gushing blood. A surefire boner killer! They decide to leave, but apparently can't. Jill watches her car get towed away, she calls her friend Ellie to come pick them up. When Ellie shows up, boyfriend Bobby wants to check out the abandoned clinic for himself.
This just gives a lazy excuse to get the foursome back in the haunted house where more stupid things go bump in the night. Most of it prank-playing, with an faint trace of an actual demonic presence lurking in the background. It's never "buyable"...never effective. Worst of all, there's long stretches of absolute nothingness...especially when Adam veers from the group and has zero to film...shakily staring down a dimly lit corridor, the camera set down on a table yet continuing to roll, that kind of shite. Very frustrating as a viewer, made doubly so when considering this is a Bernard Rose film. Not only is the material beneath him, shite feels like it was made by 20 year old film student with a Go Pro Cam!
Soon enough it becomes clear Jill is plagued by some kind of baleful spirit that's been festering in the halls of the clinic for who knows how long. Jill seems to transform into a decrepit old hag at times, as if possessed, appearing as such through the shaky cam for a flash or two. Then quickly back to her hysterical self. None of this is remotely frightening or original, it basically plays out like every bad paranormal found-footage flick that's come out in the last five or six years. And for a movie called SX_TAPE, there's very little titillation. The sex scenes aren't nearly enough of a turn-on, not nearly lascivious enough to even warrant basing your entire premise around. You either need to go raw balls deep, or stick with the abstinence. Or hey, not call your movie SX_TAPE.
There were perhaps two entire scenes or ideas in the film I didn't find completely infuriating. One of them dealt with a bank of old security monitors that showed black and white footage of various rooms in the clinic, which offered a much needed break from the monotonous dark and drab POV angles the bulk of the film adheres to. When the flick finally climaxes after 70 odd minutes, what Adam witnesses on the monitors was probably the most watchable part of the film. The other scene I sort of liked at first is when Jill stumbles on an old records room, discovering hundreds if not thousands of lost case files from the past. That back-story had a chance to be interesting, but in the end flames out in wail of loud-screeching tantrums by Jill.
Here's the truth. Even the most hardened horror head is likely to want to wait until July to see the broad comedy SEX TAPE, rather than be thoroughly disappointed by the oddly titled, uninspired SX_TAPE. Doubly disappointed knowing that CANDYMAN director himself Bernard Rose not only helmed this piece of dross, but also shot and edited the flick as well. Here's a dude who gave us legitimately chilling hospital scenes in 1992, yet, reverts back to the talent of a tyro here with his latest. Of course, the problem all starts with the stupid, single-act screenplay by first-timer scribe Eric Reese. Not even Stanley Kubrick could mold this script into gold. I do give partial credit to Caitlyn Folley for baring her all, attempting to go places emotionally the rest of the flick didn't deserve. SX_TAPE is NSFW i.e. suitable for no one!