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Sinful

POPcinema // R // October 3, 2006
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted November 6, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Plenty of quality mind-bending films await anyone who searches hard enough. From suspenseful horror films to erotic thrillers, the trend has challenged a myriad of imaginative auteurs to roll the dice and toss their ideas onto the screen. Is a valid reaction to a complex psychological film one of utter confusion and emptiness from the effects of an unclear, indefinable plotline? If that's the case, then Pop Cinema's Sinful really delivers.


The Film:

A very strange and macabre low-budget B film, Sinful is a suspense-horror tale of maternal instinct and the dire desperation of a woman unable to bear children. Lillith lives a very depressing life; her marriage is on the skids amidst sexual and emotional disconnection, her job revolves around an aggressive and hostile environment involving expecting mothers, and her overall living conditions leave much to be desired. To add salt to a fresh wound, her alluring next-door neighbor Aisha (Erika Smith) and her husband are preparing to have a child.

Thus crafts the tense atmosphere for a woman on the brink of insanity and desperation. As the film unfolds, Lillith starts to convert from a captivated and admiring neighbor to an obsessive lunatic. The rest develops much like a nightmare – whether the events that take place between the beginning and climax of the piece are demented dreams is up to interpretation. The finale is a bona fide grisly turn of events that, while remotely foreseeable, will probably wrench a heart or two.

Sinful is pretty darn difficult to watch. Take two parts horror, one part suspense, and a quarter part erotica and that's what pops onto the screen. Director Marsiglia has taken some very uniquely disturbing ideas and displayed them through a collection of odd characters. The performances are generally serviceable, especially an interesting performance from Misty Mundae as the resolute, mentally wavering Lillith. Director Tony Marsiglia takes these talents, combines them with some unique concepts and spreads these little bits of life fairly thin over the film's short runtime.

What's missing is a tangible, cohesive plot. Such grandly orchestrated carnage could've really hammered home some effective satire. Instead, this nightmare unfolds at such a persistent pace without any time for reflection. Even after looking back on the film after the credits roll, the lack of a discernible course for its message distinctly weakens its potential.

In short, Sinful is not a generally enjoyable experience. It does, however, provide a host of spine-tingling images and psychotically driven reactions from the demented main character. While these images could have been refined with a more fluid plot and subsequent character reflection, they do still remain generally effective and manage to grip the audience's attention. Nevertheless, Sinful might cause a chill or two and will probably confuse the living daylights out of many that partake.


The DVD:

Sinful comes in a DVD keepcase on one disc. Included is a two-page insert with liner notes.

The Video:

Sinful is presented in a decent anamorphic presentation spanning roughly 1.78:1. Shot in 16mm film, the grain and fluctuating black levels are fairly unstable. A noticeable green tint pops up here and there in darker scenes. Nonetheless, the array of colors used throughout the film really does shine bright through this transfer. Overall, from the source, the transfer wasn't too shabby.

The Audio:

This film is primarily dialogue-driven and is often times a very quiet piece. From that, the Dolby audio adds moderate atmosphere with the unique, minimalist score. Bearing that in mind, the sound flows fairly well with the exception of some soft-spoken patches here and there.

The Extras:

Hardcore fans of Misty Mundae will enjoy this package. Pop Cinema has included a series of small features, including:

- A Behind-The Scenes Featurette
- An Interview with Misty Mundae on the set that primarily includes discussion on her motivation as Lillith and her affection for director Marsiglia.
- A small blurb from Misty Mundae at the New Jersey International Film Festival that reiterates most of the same information from the on-set interview.
- Q & A session with Tony Marsiglia, Misty Mundae and Erika Smith
- Sinful Trailer
- Commentary on the film from director Marsiglia

Overall, the interviews with Misty are unique and really display her personality well. The other elements compliment the film very nicely.

Final Thoughts:

Sinful is an extremely stark and brutal B-rated thriller. While the visuals are razor sharp, the murky plot and meager symbolic undertones overpower the film's promise. If you're looking for a B-Rated horror suspense flick with gritty imagery that can possibly merit discussion OR if you're a fan of Misty Mundae, then I'd recommend this for a rental as a departure from the conventional. However, with its very odd visuals and ineffective symbolic follow-through, I'd recommend the common moviegoer steer elsewhere.



Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site
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