MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Sx_Tape’

sxtape

Film: Sx_Tape
Starring: Ian Duncan, Caitlyn Folley
Directed By: Bernard Rose

It is almost impossible to believe that the found footage genre made it almost a decade into its existence before a film blending haunted abandon places and poorly filmed sex scenes was given a large scale marketing effort to try and cash in on whatever instant clicks it can garner, but here we are in 2014 and Sx_Tape is only just now rolling out to VOD and cursed tiny theaters nationwide.

Adam (Ian Duncan) and Jill (Caitlyn Folley) are two horny twenty-somethings who love to perform for their camera. They get it on at their apartment, in their car, and wherever else they happen to be when the mood should happen to strike, but one day all that spontaneous sex begins to fizzle. Yes, just like every stereotypical couple on film our two lovers reach a point where their sex life needs an extra jolt of life, which they proceed to find by attempting a sex fueled rendezvous at a nearby abandoned hospital. It’s the kind of place you would expect to experience Grave Encounters, and in a similar fashion our two leads begin their adventure with a daytime trip to the grounds that is wrought with harbingers no one thinks about twice.

Following a quick romp on a bed with built-in restraints and something best described as an unexplainable encounter with the unknown, our two lovers attempt to leave their decaying love nest and soon discover their car has been towed. Friends are called, help arrives, but the allure of an abandoned hospital is too much for our leads’ friends to ignore. Our couple is clearly shaken, but with a little peer pressure they are convinced to return to the hospital for one last exploration.

Sx_Tape is what I imagine the infamous late night adult programming on Cinemax would be today had it not been discontinued several years ago because less and less people cared about softcore porn in the age of the internet. The characters are one dimensional, the script is an after thought to how much time can be filled with POV sex scenes and extended takes of people cautiously walking down hallways or through relatively empty rooms. When scares did occur they were executed with the same kind of rushed special effects work you would expect from a low budget SyFy special, and truth be told, that comment may actually be more offensive to cable network filmmakers. The things that go ‘bump’ in the darkness are rendered so poorly it’s laughable, and the explanation given for their existence only makes the whole affair even sillier.

As much as it misfires on pretty much every level, there are several moments throughout Sx_Tape where it becomes clear the creators (writer Eric Reese and director Bernard Rose) were at least inspired by films that knew what they were doing. The film starts off at a great pace, and even though the POV sex gets a bit boring (even for sex!) it moves along briskly enough that you feel like things could turn on a dime and become batshit insane at any moment. When Jill initially encounters the spirit at the hospital there is a brief hope that the time for madness and originality has come, but those hopes are dashed almost as fast as they arrive and the film quickly descends into familiar territory.

Unless you’re craving five minutes of POV softcore porn so badly you’re willing to sit through eighty-four minutes of found footage cliches, I can think of very few reasons to recommend anyone watch Sx_Tape. In fact, if you want the porn aspect of the film you only really need to watch the first twenty minutes. Sx_Tape may be the worst horror film of the year, and it is definitely the worst film I have seen thus far in 2014. Everything, from the acting, to the pointless music cues that play over scenes that are supposed to be found footage (a complete contradiction of the entire idea), is dreadful. Bernard Rose has made films the horror world will admire for ages (Candyman), but this title is one we should all pretend never existed in the first place.

SCORE: D-

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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