A film that was held on the shelf for two years before earning a little over $15,000 in limited release on ten screens, "Fascination" essentailly ranks up there with something you'd see on Cinemax at about 1 am. Cheap and cheesy, the movie tries to be "Wild Things" with some touches of arthouse, but it ends up making the "Wild Things" direct-to-vid sequels look like Oscar winners. Oddly enough, the film's production company is named Quality Films.
Adam Garcia ("Coyote Ugly") stars as Scott, a wealthy composer whose father (James Naughton) died under mysterious circumstances - he was an Olympic swimmer, but passed away while in the water. When Mom (Jacqueline Bisset) returns with a new fiance (Stuart Wilson), Scott and his new stepsister (Alice Evans) suspect that the two are somehow behind it. Yet, the new stepsiblings also fall for one another, leading to a delightfully stupid sequence where the two have sex on the slanted roof of a tall building in the rain on their new parents' wedding day (yes, he does nearly fall off.) Oh, and lets not forget the scene where the two get hot and heavy in the pool and she tries to drown him with his head between her legs and then proceeds to go on like nothing happened.
The movie doesn't seem to have much interest in creating a coherent or at least even slightly interesting plotline, as the mystery is held up by a traffic jam of exposition. There's also the occasional sex scene, none of which have the slightest bit of passion or heat to them.
Yet, that's not the worst of it. Containing some of the poorest performances (Garcia and Evans are completely wooden, and each has trouble doing a different accent) and dialogue ("Wow...your dad was a swimmer and he died in a swimming accident...that's.....weird.") I've seen in ages (with a heaping helping of the corniest soft-core music ever), "Fascination" is fascinating simply because it's just so unintentionally hilarious.
"Fascination" did not do particularly well (to say the least) during its brief theatrical run, but after watching it, it's questionable whether it actually deserved the screen space it got. This is dreadful, dreadful stuff that would be completely unwatchable if it wasn't so silly.
The DVD includes both a theatrical and director's cut, although both seem to carry an "R" rating.
VIDEO: "Fascination" is presented by MGM in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation is noticably variable in terms of quality, but never really looks particularly good. Images sometimes appear visibly soft and hazy and other scenes have the definition looking somewhat improved. I'd think it was a stylistic choice, but there appeared to be no rhyme or reason as to why the picture slipped into hazy territory.
Minor shimmering is spotted in several scenes, and some light edge enhancement adds to the sometimes rather messy looking presentation. The print was in fine condition, aside from some slight grain and a speck or two. Colors generally appeared natural, although colors could appear slightly smeary in some interior scenes.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack woke up to deliver some minor ambience from the surrounds on a couple of occasions, but aside from that, this is an entirely dialogue-driven presentation. Audio quality was alright: dialogue sounded a little low in the mix (not that I was complaining, but technically...) and effects/music could sound slightly muddy.
EXTRAS: A brief "making of" is included, which appears to have Evans being interviewed while she sits in her closet. The filmmakers, amazingly enough, act as if they've made a true classic. It's just baffling to watch. There's also an alternate ending, three "scene studies" (short making of featurettes), a couple of TV spots (they should have saved the ad dollars) and trailers for other MGM titles.
Final Thoughts: "Fascination" tries to pass itself off as an arty, sensual noir thriller, but it's a flat, laughable cable-level soap opera. MGM's DVD presentation is average. Skip it.