Entertainment » Movies

Snapshot (Twist)

by Kilian Melloy
Sunday Oct 8, 2017

The Shine Louise Houston-directed "Snapshot" has minimal pretensions at being a thriller. Much more to the point is the mock rating card that flashes at the beginning, letting us know that this "porno" has been rated "PL" -- for Pink Label, which turns out, upon investigation, to be a purveyor of "Independent Erotic and Adult Films."

Fair enough -- but you should probably know going in what it is you're about to see. There's some fairly explicit sex and a lot of disjointed scenes. There's also a psycho killer on the loose in the city of San Francisco -- male, by the way, in a film that has all of maybe three guys in it, one of whom is painted with tiger stripe-looking tattoos and dressed in lacy undies for some not quite clear reason -- but his intended target is seemingly too busy attending orgies to make time for her demise at his hands. That's fine: He's perfectly happy to bide his time, laying out his bladed weapons and lavishing them with the admiring smile of a true connoisseur.

The killer's next victim is named Charlie (Beretta James). She's a photographer who accidentally barges into the wrong apartment one morning and just as accidentally takes a photo of a couple in the middle of sex. Back in her studio, blowing up the image, Charlie zeroes in on the startling sight of a man, across the way and seen through the window, peering into the couple's apartment... and seemingly covered in blood.

Curious and troubled, Charlie decides to check out the building for herself, but once again she stumbles into the wrong place. Instead of finding her way to the unit where a victim has indeed been discovered gutted in the bath tub, she finds her way to Danny (Chocolate Chip), who, as it happens, is on the San Francisco police force. As the two women get to know each other, they dance around the usual questions that attend a new romance -- Shall we have sex? No? If not now, when? By the way, will you come with me to the Halloween Orgy where I intend to photograph everyone at play, since I get off by watching?

Meantime, lest we forget, the killer is out there, and he has his own fun on the agenda. He sends Charlie threatening photos that seem to show her at the moment she discovers the photos in question. It's impossible, but it's inventive and super-creepy, and so it works well for the film. More stalking and a little less talking (and maybe a lot less... umm, well, never mind) could have made this movie stronger on the thriller side of things without losing too much on the Independent Erotic side. On the other hand, it's not often you have a chance to see ten- or twelve-minute scenes of women having moderately graphic sex integrated so artfully into a movie that's more than a mere skin flick.

Appearing in the 2017 Twist Seattle Queer Film Festival. For tickets and more information: http://3dollarbillcinema.org

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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