A routine straight-to-video erotic thriller, TURN OF THE BLADE does evidence occasional flashes of intelligence, particularly when it satirizes its own tired genre.
Career demands cause stress on the marriage of actress Kelly Deer (Crystal Owens) and her photographer-husband Sam Peyton. While working on a play, Kelly is called to audition for a part in a movie directed by Jerry Breezin (David Keith Miller); Breezin quickly becomes obsessed with her.
Frustrated by the demands of Kelly's career, Sam has a brief makeout session with Wendy (Julie Horvath), a helicopter pilot whose philandering first husband died mysteriously. Meanwhile, Kelly begins to receive obscene phone calls. Feeling guilty, Sam breaks off contact with Wendy and reconciles
with Kelly, who has turned down the movie for him. The sleazy Breezin shows up at Kelly's play rehearsal, where he and Sam wind up in a fistfight. During the rehearsal, a stage knife is replaced by a real one and Kelly is stabbed. Mute worker Hugo (Lenny Roebuck), who has a crush on Kelly, is
blamed. Upon Kelly and Sam's arrival home from the hospital, Wendy meets them. Sam is forced to admit his fling, causing a bitter fight. Later, as Kelly prepares to open the play, she is accosted by Breezin in the dressing room, but manages to knock him out. Sam receives a call threatening Kelly's
life and he races to the theater. As Sam arrives, Kelly is attacked by a disguised, knife-wielding Wendy. Sam tries to stop her, but is slashed. As Wendy rises to kill Kelly, Hugo races in and throws her through the window to her death.
From its cheesy jazz score to its laughable plotting, TURN OF THE BLADE is prototypical pay-cable fare. In a few instances, however, the film exhibits flashes of self-conscious irony, as when Sam asks Kelly what type of film she's been offered and she answers, "Just your usual low-budget erotic
thriller." The movie rises slightly above its sorry subgenre when the subject of nudity in films is introduced. Sam's anger at his wife for doing nude scenes gives the viewer an interesting perspective on his character. And when she does actually "lose her top" for Breezin, the camera is
positioned behind her back, focusing on the director instead of her exposed chest. Director Bryan M. Stoller generally avoids gratuitous sex or nudity, which may well explain why the film sat on the shelf for a few years (it was shot in 1994). Unfortunately, the plot never veers too far from the
well-established erotic thriller formula--even the revelation of Wendy as the killer is all too obvious, especially when she's shown sitting near a wedding photo in which her husband's head is clipped out. The lead actors' performances are subpar, but they are a (small) step up from the usual
half-baked performances featured in these movies. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations, nudity.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: NR
- Review: A routine straight-to-video erotic thriller, TURN OF THE BLADE does evidence occasional flashes of intelligence, particularly when it satirizes its own tired genre. Career demands cause stress on the marriage of actress Kelly Deer (Crystal Owens) and her… (more)