Ah, the realm of straight-to-video dramas. It's a sub-genre to be cherished, because where else can you find tawdry, overheated pieces of work like Deceit? A semi-erotic misfire if ever there was one, this 2006 slice of televised cheese, which premiered a little over a year ago, has lofty ambitions. Produced by actor Joe Pantoliano (who has a small part as Anthony), Deceit is ostensibly a psycho-sexual thriller in the vein of "CSI" or "Law & Order," but can't even hold a candle to those programs.
Maybe it's director/co-writer Matthew Cole Weiss' proclivity for underlining every scene with Dan Silver's score or third-hand rock songs; maybe it's the cast penchant for performing intensely dramatic scenes as though they're taking place in wind tunnels or just maybe this half-baked thriller is just another tired TV movie.
Dave Ford (Matt Long), fresh out of college, just can't control himself around the impetuous Emily ("Entourage"'s Emmanuelle Chriqui), who's embroiled in a violent relationship with Brian (Luke Mably). After a one-night stand between Dave and Emily, Dave shoves off for New York and law school, only to be drawn back home when his father (Timothy Bottoms) dies. Dave soon finds himself ensnared in a web of sex, money, violence and lies as he tries to sort out truth from fiction, so on and so forth.
If only every single person who passes in front of the camera wasn't so wooden or if the dialogue (penned by Scott Malchus and Weiss) wasn't a step away from appearing on "General Hospital," Deceit might be watchable -- albeit on some late Saturday night when absolutely nothing else is on. But it can't even give viewers a prurient thrill -- the sex scenes are strictly softcore (sorry, Chriqui fans) and are edited with a Ginsu, so there's really not a thing here to recommend. The DVD
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer exhibits a bit of grain (not surprising, given the film's likely tiny budget) and often seems to suffer from a slight overexposure (again, unsurprising; most TV dramas have an affinity for blown-out mise-en-scene), but those hiccups aside, it's a mostly smooth presentation that befits a recently created production. The Audio:
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track throbs with menace and conveys every line of goofball dialogue clearly, although there are a number of instances where the score almost entirely drowns out what's being said. It's aggravating -- couldn't they mix this a bit better? -- but infrequent. A Dolby 2.0 stereo track is onboard, as are optional English and Spanish subtitles. The Extras:
There isn't much to sift through here: a perfunctory behind-the-scenes featurette "Behind the scenes of 'Deceit'" runs 12 minutes, 32 seconds and is presented in fullscreen. Deceit's trailer is included, as are trailers for Bordertown, The Killing Floor, The Wendell Baker Story and The House of Usher. Final Thoughts:
If only every single person who passes in front of the camera wasn't so wooden or if the dialogue (penned by Scott Malchus and Weiss) wasn't a step away from appearing on "General Hospital," Deceit might be watchable -- albeit on some late Saturday night when absolutely nothing else is on. But it can't even give viewers a prurient thrill -- the sex scenes are strictly softcore and are edited with a Ginsu, so there's really not a thing here to recommend. Skip it.