Dark Side Release Date: 2003 Genre: Drama | Thriller Director: Dominic Shiach (Blackheart) Writer: Sheldon Inkol (Specimen and Carver’s Gate) Starring: Jason Priestly, Janet Kidder, Paul Johansson The direct-to-video genre churns out erotic thrillers like a Catholic does babies. This time, however, the erotic thriller we’re taking a look at doesn’t feature Angie Everhart getting […]

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Dark Side
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Director: Dominic Shiach (Blackheart)
Writer: Sheldon Inkol (Specimen and Carver’s Gate)
Starring: Jason Priestly, Janet Kidder, Paul Johansson

The direct-to-video genre churns out erotic thrillers like a Catholic does babies. This time, however, the erotic thriller we’re taking a look at doesn’t feature Angie Everhart getting raped in the shower. I know you’re disappointed, but just calm down for a second. Dark Side features Margaret Kidder’s daughter (Janet Kidder), race car driver extraordinaire (yes, I know, OH TAG) Jason Priestly, bondage, and that twin gimmick that’s been done to death by action stars such as Jet Li, Arnold Schwargenager, Jackie Chan, and Jean Claude Van Dam (twice in a two year period). Yes, Dark Side isn’t very unique, but enough scenes shimmer that the trite parts fade into the back of your mind.

Just like any good film starts off, Janet Kidder (playing Jane here) kills herself by jumping off the ledge of her apartment building. What’s odd is that she never seemed to be the type of person that would want to do such a thing. As her friend Vicki later describes, you could tell Jane that you were a “‘a glue sniffing transvestite who gets off on dwarves in school girl clothing.’ You could drop that on her, and she’d say, ‘Ehhh, that’s okay.’” When her twin sister Megan, also played by Kidder, is informed of the death, the guilt stemming from her refusal to answer Jane’s last phone call is just too much for her. She feels the need to investigate, much to the chagrin of her apprehensive boyfriend Sean (Paul Johansson). After meeting up with a distressed and bearded Michael Pacer (Priestly, “90210”), along with the bondage loving Vicki, she begins to learn more and more about not only her sister’s unpredictable life, but also of her sister’s death. Cue the suspense music; we’ve got ourselves a murder-mystery-erotic-thriller on our hands.

While Priestly and Megan develop a relationship based on the retelling of her sister’s life, Vicki introduces Megan to a world that she finds herself oddly attracted to (no hanky panky, though). Vicki brings her to a dominatrix club, outfitted in a former outfit of Jane’s, which brings her deeper into her sister’s world. Unfortunately, this angle is all but abandoned soon after she leaves the club. Best part about this scene? Megan frantically runs out of an underground, password protected, lair in a desolate part of the city. Conveniently enough, there’s a cab pulling up alongside the club at just the right moment.

By the time the midpoint of the film has passed, there’s a feeling of “Let’s throw everything at the wall” going on. Her boyfriend freaks out at the sight of Megan in the leather ware, Megan stops talking to Vicki, a weird man speaks to Megan in the club, and they throw out a plot where Priestly seemed to be stalking Jane. There’s twenty minutes when the film got on my nerves, but once those passed, it was time for the showdown between the real killer and Megan. Things wrapped up in an actual thrilling, though predictable in its methods, way.

DVD: Can we say Standard Direct-to-Video™?

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