Devil in the Flesh (Steven Cohen, 1998)
The whole “erotic thriller” thing is a movie that manages about one pearl for every thousand swine. Not that it stops studios from pumping them out like M&Ms. The late nineties were an especially fertile breeding ground for the erotic thriller, and pretty much all of them were awful. Case in point: Devil in the Flesh, which has as its only selling point these days a nubile Rose McGowan looking quite delectable. Too bad the rest of the movie doesn’t measure up.
Plot: after some nastiness at her old school, Debbie Strand (McGowan, recently of the Conan the Barbarian remake) is sent by the state’s foster care system to live with her grandmother (Imitation of Life‘s Peg Shirley). No sweat, she thinks, until she finds out the grandmother is a crazy religious nut who expects Debbie to be her personal slave girl. Worse, she’s also got a couple of detectives (Wag the Dog‘s Phil Morris and Gigli‘s Robert Silver) nosing around trying to figure out what happened at her former school. All that fades into the background, though, when she sets eyes on hunky Peter Rinaldi (Conspiracy Theory‘s Alex McArthur), an English teacher at her new school. Debbie sets her sights on Peter, and god help anyone who gets in her way…
To put it simply: this is ridiculous. The script tries to marry horror story with teen sex comedy and does neither with any competence. The acting is baseline, but barely that; given the talent assembled for this movie, I have to give director Steve Cohen grudging respect for being enough of a director to get this entire cast to act this badly. And the erotic aspects of the script are… well, nonexistent would be the best way to describe them.
Unless you’re a huge fan of someone who was involved in this production (I watched it solely because of Wendy Robie, who was in it for far too little time), you should not only pass it up, but flee screaming in terror. *
WARNING: this is not an official trailer, and it contains major spoilers. But it’s the trailer that SHOULD have been, starting right about the title card that says “a flaming shit-pile of a film.” Truer words, etc.