Simple Revenge, my second outing with MTI Video, is no less enjoyable than my first, Expecting Mercy. Having been a connoisseur of the "erotic thriller" genre while my Cinemax subscription lasted, I was heavily into the exploits of Julie Strain, Shannon Tweed and even Shauna O'Brien. I think that Simple Revenge can easily be classified as such, from its main character's use of sex as a weapon, to the interesting bed-hopping twists and turns of the plot, all the ingredients are there for a delicious and depraved detour into the realm of B-cinema and the Averill bros. deliver.
Alex (Holly Perkins) is a lawyer who's just been passed up for a major promotion. This of course sets into motion events that will lead to a lot more than Simple Revenge. Due to her intimidating personality and ruthless business tactics, Alex's promotion was given to Ann (Anne Hawthorne), a much more level-headed and well liked attorney. Alex begins to plot against Ann, first by altering important documents at work, then seducing her husband, Jim (Andrew Garman). Overcome by guilt, he confesses their one night stand to Ann who promptly throws him out. Ann goes to confront Alex and slips and breaks her neck in a freak accident at Alex's house. Unfazed by this turn of events, Alex wraps Ann's bloodied head in a plastic bag, drives the stiffening corpse back to her own house and plants evidence so it appears Jim killed her in a drunken rage.
The cops assigned to the case, Kate (Melissa Picarello) and Ed (Frank Avoletta) aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer either, as Alex pulls a Basic Instinct stunt on them during the interrogation, by claiming that because she had the most to gain from Ann's death, she's the least probable suspect. After forensic evidence comes back linking Alex to the crime, she realizes that she'd better one up the digging detectives. This of course involves inviting Kate over and slipping her a 'mickey,' after which she wakes up to find them both undressed in Alex's bed. Unsure of the events of the previous night, Kate and Ed are shocked to discover that Alex is accusing Kate of a particularly shocking crime which gets her suspended from the force.
Taking matters into their own hands, Kate and Ed head over to Alex's to confront her directly, but are once again played for fools as Alex disarms Kate and shoots her wit her own gun. Ed, hearing the shot, rushes in and tries to strangle Alex only to have another Officer arrive and intervene. With Kate and now Ed kicked off the force, they decide to turn to one of their underworld contacts to take the game to Alex another way. Slowly they begin to produce more and more evidence implicating Alex to the crime, even going so far as to break into her home and enact the vicious crime that Kate had already been accused of, further provoking her to make another move against them and reveal herself.
By classifying this as an "erotic thriller," I hope I'm not doing the film a disservice. I mean, it's got a fairly simple set up, followed by some very smart and clever twists that made for an enjoyable ride. The requisite Sex and Violence quotient was definitely there, but far from a degree I'd call exploitative. In fact, something I'd like to address is the DVD cover which features Miss Picarello looking nothing like she does in the film. In fact, while Miss Perkins has no problem with on screen nudity, there is little more than some underwear shots of Melissa. However, based on the cover, I'd say that is a definite waste of a talented and attractive young woman.
Picture: Simple Revenge is presented in a 16:9 widescreen presentation that looks pretty good. Overall, the image is sharp with crisp, clear colors.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track sounds good.
Extras: The only Extra Features on this DVD are a series of Cast Bios and Trailers for additional MTI releases.
Conclusion: Once again MTI delivers a quality genre pic that won't have you reaching for the fast forward button. While it's not Citizen Kane by any stretch of the imagination, there are enough clever plot devices that should entertain anyone with an open mind and 90 minutes free. The two female leads are both enjoyable to watch, especially as they try and out "evil" one another. Sadly, most of the male cast could be replaced by mannequins with little noticeable change in their acting quality.