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Net.Games
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by Jack Sommersby

"Ludicrous.Net"
1 stars

Catchy story premise but scattershot writing do it in.

The erotic thriller Net.Games tries functioning as sort of a cyberspace Basic Instinct, even going so far as opening the story with a similarly gruesome sex-in-bed murder that certainly delivers in the nudity and gore departments, but after an initially interesting first half it self-destructs due to logic loopholes and one too many superfluous plot twists. That fine B-movie actor C. Thomas Howell stars as Los Angeles advertising executive Adam Vance, who has a thriving career but unsatisfying domestic life: his wife was the victim of a rape eight months prior, and since then their marriage has been platonic due to the wife still being traumatized over the event. At her psychiatrist’s urging, the wife agrees to travel to the prison where her rapist has been sentenced to confront him, which leaves Adam alone for two days, and at his best friend’s urging goes online to the adult CyberChat site to engage in some harmless flirting; sexually frustrated, Adam takes to it with a real feverish intensity, indulging in some hot and heavy Internet interplay that climaxes with, well, a climax in his pants. Little does Adam know that the woman he’s been interacting with, the blonde bombshell Angel, is a perverted serial killer who not only can sneakily access his bank records but is so emotionally skewered that her high point is having a mind-blowing orgasm at the same exact time she’s sadistically slaughtering a man she’s tied up to the bedposts. After a short while Adam starts getting personal phone calls from Angel, who he’s (implausibly) given out his home-phone number to; and from here we’ve got something of a Fatal Attraction vibe going on, only Net.Games lacks the swank precision of that and the colorful voluptuousness of Basic Instinct. It’s not that it’s not either of these flawed but superior movies, but that it’s lamely conceived and shoddily put together in an all-too-obvious ploy to make some quick cash on the direct-to-home-video market -- it’s so derivative and empty-headed there’s no way so much as a frame of it would stick to actual celluloid. Some incriminating photos of Adam jerking off to the website have been taken through his living-room window, supposedly by Angel, and yet there’s no way this could be being that Adam was online with Angel at the time. And would Adam so carelessly agree to come to a house he’s never been to before as instructed by Angel just so he can stumble upon a corpse similar to Angel’s physicality just so he can leave behind trace evidence just so he can be blackmailed soon thereafter? Devoid of so much as a semblance of ratiocination, Net.Games is all too willing to sensationalize for the sole sake of a cheap, immediate effect that you quit taking it seriously after a while because nothing, whether it’s Adam’s thorny predicament or Angel’s twisted mind, has been rendered organically. (It were as if the moviemakers simply checked off a number of cliches from a clipboard during filming without bothering to link anything together contextually.) The performances are acceptable enough, with Howell miraculously managing not to overact given the shrill situations Adam finds himself in, and Lala Sloatman, as Angel, gives herself totally to her role so you never doubt the seriousness of the actress’s intent. I would’ve liked to have seen the both of them plugged into a much smarter script than the hodgepodge-laden one here that’s always unraveling like a ball of yarn at the claws of a spastic kitten.

No special features included on the full-frame DVD.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=29457&reviewer=327
originally posted: 07/16/15 18:21:11
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USA
  N/A (R)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
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Directed by
  Andrew Van Slee

Written by
  Andrew Van Slee

Cast
  C. Thomas Howell
  Lala Sloatman
  Sam Ball
  Monique Demers
  Marina Sirtis



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