July 5, 2011
John Huckert, John Matkowsky and Dan Acre
Noel Palomaria as Hollis Parker
Tara Killian as Karen
Eva Frajko as Laura
Michael Waite as Zeke
Nansi Aluka as Jenny
P.W. Aubrey as Mr. Ben Watt
Hollis Parker (Noel Palomaria) suffered a terrible tragedy; after having passionate sex with his fiancé he leaves her lounging on the bed in afterglow and treks off to the shower, but upon his return she has been violently slashed and killed by a sharp and effective weapon. Years later, Hollis remains haunted by the fact that he wasn’t able to save his future bride, and even worse that he cannot remember anything about the evening in question. He does have a few diversions to keep him distracted though. For one, he has a new girlfriend (Eva Frajko) who seems to be equally randy in the sack, and shows her physical devotion again and again… and again and again. And again.
In addition to a healthy and extremely active sex life, Hollis is also the host of a nighttime online radio program where callers (I guess ‘browsers’) communicate via their webcams their deepest and darkest sexual secrets and fears. Everything from simulated sexual assault and murder to repressed lesbian feelings are fair game on this show, and Hollis has become quite the celebrity within the sexual voyeur underworld. On top of all that, there is a sexy young intern at the station (Tara Killian) who has decided that Hollis is the man for her, and will stop at nothing to take him inside her… heart. Within this rosy and sweaty (and exhausted) picture there is darkness too, and secrets of the past that just may lead to death are on the horizon, but this time it’s all showing online.
Strangers Online is a self-proclaimed “erotic thriller” that is stopped short of soft-core porn only by the duration of the sex scenes. “Keep the onscreen sex shorter and the graphic nature will not turn the tides toward true porn” seems to be the tactic in this film to avoid an X rating. No close-up shots of penetration, mind you, but still there is not much left to the imagination. Admittedly, it’s pretty hot. Interestingly, though, there are actually good plot elements and suspenseful moments in this film in addition to all of the sex.
The storyline has been done before and falls into some clichéd areas, having distinct elements ofFatal Attraction mixed in with a movie of the week tale of deception and secret insanity. Still, the story is actually pretty good and is supported by relatively strong performances by the leads. There are plenty of those times within Strangers Online when the characters make fatal mistakes that we know will lead to doom, eliciting feelings similar to those that arise when a young lovely ventures into the woods to investigate a child’s voice while wearing only panties. EVERYONE knows that is a bad idea and will lead to a machete in the brain, but damn if she doesn’t do it anyway. Similar moments transpire in Strangers Online, or at least moments that bring similar feelings. Only in this movie it’s less panties and more carnality.
There is one thing that I can’t get past in Strangers Online, and it must be mentioned… there are abundant and gratuitous shots of male lead Noel Palomaria’s butt in this film. Walking around, getting fondled, bending over, thrusting, we see the gluteus of this man over and over from every possible angle. It is very clear that the director of this film is an ass man, and that one of the casting requirements was dropping trou and turning around. It seems to me that director John Huckert likes male butt, and particularly Noel Palomaria’s butt. When watching this film, there will be many opportunities to decide for yourself whether you like it or not, because it is on screen a lot.
Overall Strangers Online has trouble being taken seriously due to the frequent and explicit nature of the sexual activity depicted, but in this case that fact does not automatically mean that the film is not good and entertaining for reasons other than the sex. Still, recommending this one to your buddies on horror night may result in raised eyebrows and questions as to whether you confused the weekly gathering with a bachelor party. Maybe “guilty pleasure” is the correct category forStrangers Online, but don’t be surprised if you fail to get your friends to admit publicly that they like it too.