Title: Sinful (2006)
Starring: Misty Mundae, Erika Smith, Ronnie Kerr
Director: Tony Marsiglia
Duration: 73 mins
Lilith has been dealt a rotten hand in life: a traumatic childhood, a horrible job, a husband who can’t get an erection, and an insatiable longing for a child she isn’t able to conceive. Next door to her lives the perfect couple, Aisha and Sam. They seem to have everything Lilith doesn’t: a healthy sex life, a positive outlook, and a baby on the way. Lilith seems to share a special, unexplainable connection with her neighbor; but when put into perspective, it is only an unwholesome jealousy that leads Lilith deeper and deeper into a self-created fantasy world that evokes underlying violent tendencies in her workplace and home.
Sinful was helmed by independent filmmaker Tony Marsiglia who had previously made such softcore flicks such as Lust for Dracula, Sin Sisters, and Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde. These films also feature the acting talents of possibly the cutest actress in all of B-filmdom, Misty Mundae, who, aside from numerous softcore comedies/spoofs, stars in many a cult movie including Shock-O-Rama, Bite Me!, and The Screaming Dead. Along for the ride is Erika Smith, who has occasionally costarred with Mundae (as Erin Brown), like in the Polonia brothers’ party flick Splatter Beach, and is also credited in Sexy Adventures of Van Helsing, Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation, and Crimson. Now that we know the kind of personnel we’ll be dealing with in Sinful, it’ll be a surprise to know that Marsiglia’s feature is a much more mature offering than the blood’n’tits monkey business of the majority of Shock-O-Rama Cinema’s/e.i. Independent Cinema’s kinky catalog (not that Sinful doesn’t have blood or tits, mind you, but “tasteful” blood and tits).
Sometimes when a film is this appealing on the surface, I can’t help but do my research about the production. Sinful was shot in four and a half days on Super 16mm, and looks absolutely gorgeous for such time/technical restraints. However, following up on the production I found that life seemed to take a big duce on this movie: locations were lost, what would have been pivotal characters were thrown away, and at one point the cops came in and shut the whole darn thing down. Not to mention the character of Sam was to originally be played by a dwarf (now that would’ve reeled me in a lot sooner!). But like so many a film, perseverance ultimately prevailed, for better or worse. Sinful moves at a snails pace; and in a 73 minute movie, you can’t afford to loose your audience so quickly. Scenes that would normally be psychologically intense end up seeming just plain awkward (which may or may not have been the intent in the first place, but I’ll still consider this a drawback). One wonders what a much better film this’d be if Marsiglia’s pesky storm cloud above his head would have called out sick.
All is not lost from these behind-the-scenes misfortunes. Quite the contrary. Sinful is a unique entry in all of its filmmakers’ résumés. As stated before, the look of this film is quite beautiful. The use of lights and color is a great example of professionalism on such a little film, making the scenes have a very appropriate dream-like quality that helps blur the lines between Lilith’s reality and her obsessive fantasy world. The driving force of this movie, though, is the cast of characters; and while all the actors are beaming with charisma, Misty Mundae and Erika Smith have an undeniable on-screen chemistry. It also helps, I’m sure, that these two ladies of cult cinema are totally adorable in their own right. Despite that Sinful isn’t the slasher movie the cover art depicts it as, we are treated to a few ace gross-out scenes, all of which in one way or another involve abortion or miscarriages. Yuck! In the end, this film leaves a disturbing taste in one’s mouth.
Unless one’s in the mood for a quiet, surreal, and psychological character study, I can’t really recommend this to anyone who is a fan or potential follower to the typical works of Marsiglia, Mundae, or Smith. These three have many movies under their belts that are a hundred times more fun, a quality this movie doesn’t have. Though, like I’ve already said, Sinful is a mature breakaway from the usual stuff we pay attention to these people for and is worth a viewing, even if out of “sinful” curiosity.