I had been interested in Paul Thomas's To Die For, and found it for pretty cheap at a local store, so I decided to check it out. Was it worth it?
The Movie: This movie is probably one of the most unnerotic things I have ever seen. Now, let me explain why I'm saying this.
The movie To Die For is very dark. The whole movie revolves around destructive relationships, cheating, and death. So, if you are setting the sex scenes in this context, they take on that dark edge. With the exception of the first scene, there is hardly any scene in this film that doesn't have some dark cloud hanging over it. This is coming from someone who loved the film Bliss, and found several of the scenes in that film very erotic.
So, that explanation aside, I'm going to do a quick pro/con review of this film. Just take a note that this film is dark, and does feature a lot of topics that adult films tend to shy away from.
Austin Kincaid: This woman is an amazing performer and actress. She has a good deal of dialogue in this film, and she handles it like a pro. Plus, she handles her final sex scene, which I will get to in the con section, very well. Her and Monique Alexander are the only reason I am giving this movie a four in the female looks catagory. Otherwise it would be a three, and if you took out Haley Paige, it would be a two.
The Story: The movie has an interesting story that reminds me more of the old Paul Thomas more than the new experimental Paul Thomas. It's a detailed, structed story that has several character's lives interesecting. It also helps that it's an interesting story, since the film is almost two and a half hours long.
The Ending: This is both a pro and a con. The ending of this film story wise, is great. It grabs the viewer and drags them down the depressing road that is these character's lives, and ends with a punch to the gut. It isn't a happy ending, but it is a good one.
The Guys: This pro is for the ladies and my fellow mo's out there. There are three guys total in this film, and all three of them are fine to look at. Tommy Gunn, Kurt Lockwood, and Manuel Farrera are three very hot men. Oddly enough, and this is more of a side note, there is a scene where Kurt Lockwood is masturbating while a woman fingers his ass. It just struck me as odd that in a straight film there would be a prolonged scene of male masturbation.
Now... lets get to the cons:
The Ending: While the plot takes you by the balls and drags you along, the sex does not. I am refering to the final scene in the film where Manuel sneaks into Austin's bed, and begins to have sex with her. Austin's character fights him off. The scene, at least as it is played out, feels like a rape. Now, it does end concensual, but it does not start out that way. This scene and the two others I will discuss are the reason I only gave the film a two on the sex scale.
Suicide and Sex: Another instance that seemed completely wrong to me was when a certain character is trying to kill herself. Her boyfriend arrives, and she then proceeds to seduce him. Now, the problem with this is that the character is desperate, and the sex seems like a ploy to hold on to her boyfriend. The sex scene looses all sense of eroticism with that hanging over it.
The Lesbian Scene: The girl/girl scene is fine for the most part until... one of the girls decides to sit on the toilet and douche herself. Some may find this erotic, but I honestly did not. It was just a nasty little bit of weirdness in the scene.
The Tone: This is a con for some and not for others. For me this is not usually a con. This movie is dark, and these characters, with the exception of one or two, are NOT likeable. They either are just horrible people, or they make horrible decisions. These characters only have one direction, and that is down. So, if you can handle the depressing nature of the story, great. If not... go get something that doesn't have a knife on the cover... which brings me to the final point.
The Cover: The DVD cover of this film plays the story up more as a campy horror film. This is not a horror film. Yes, there is murder, but that's it. This story is a very dark drama. Vivid really dropped the ball on the cheesy cover art here. I know dark drama doesn't sell in porn, but again I bring up Bliss. The cover for that movie was perfect. Subtle, classy, and it captured the tone of the movie. This cover... makes it look like Nightmare in the Valley.
So, pro's and con's aside, how does the movie look?
Tech Stuff: The DVD presentation is fuzzy as hell. The picture is grainy, and the film is damaged. A good chunk of the last half of the movie is scratched up. Honestly, the film was just in bad shape. I'm guessing the movie used cheap film stock, because this is just crappy. It does give the film a slight artsy edge at times, but sometimes it's just annoying. The sound is even worse. This has nothing to do with the DVD, and everything to do with the actual sound recorded during filming. There are scenes where the sound just doesn't come in at all. Honestly, for a major Paul Thomas film, you would think the movie would be in better shape.
Extras: The usual Vivid extras. Nothing special here.
Final Thoughts: It may seem like I hated this film, but to be honest, I didn't. I liked it, a lot. I enjoyed the story, and the characters, and I enjoyed the fact that Paul Thomas wanted to do something that took risks in terms of emotional content, and not just sexual content. The problem is, this movie, as erotic entertainment, fails horribly. The sex scenes are good, but the tone that goes with them makes everything just seem depressing. Also, the last scene just proved that this movie was never ment to be pure porn. Would I recommend this film? To the average porn viewer? No. To couples? Nope. Way to much cheating. To someone who liked Bliss? Yes. So, if you enjoyed Bliss, and want something similar, then check out To Die For. If you want something dark that'll stick with you, then yes. Otherwise, I would say rent, or avoid.
*Also, Vivid, if you plan on using film, check the film stock, and try and clean up your prints! Work on your transfers. The video and DV movies look great, but your film releases look terrible!