Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Mick Rossi
A KISS AND A PROMISE (aka Sex Killer/2012). Director: Phillip Guzman.

David Beck (Mick Rossi) and his wife, Samantha (Natasha Gregson Wagner), run a bed and breakfast in a small town. Their sole regular tenant is Charlie Matthews (Sean Power), who is David's lover. But David's big secret isn't his bisexual behavior, but the fact that he gets off on strangling girls and women, something we learn fairly early in the picture. A Kiss and a Promise is more of a three-character study than a suspense thriller, and if it works at all it's because of the excellent performances by all three leads. The movie is, one imagines, very loosely based on a true story (if at all), which might be why the script doesn't quite hold together. Samantha doesn't quite seem comfortable with the fact that her husband also sleeps with his boyfriend (who hopes to sell a book but winds up being paid for sex instead) under the same roof, but one has to wonder why she puts up with it at all, considering she owns the business. The back stories of the characters are completely unexplored, which means that it's only the acting that makes them dimensional; it would have been nice to know more about Charlie, for instance. Patrick Bergin and Robert Miano are police detectives, and the other supporting parts are also well played. While this may not have been the intention, the movie has the dubious distinction of presenting a really fucked up "gay couple." Guzman fails to imbue the movie with any sustained tension.  The "truth" of this story is suspect on many levels, but the biggest factor is a certain letter that, according to notes at the end of the movie, "was never seen again." Since no one actually got to see the letter but a dead man and a cop who improbably disposes of it, how would anyone, including the filmmakers, even know it existed? Wagner is the daughter of Natalie Wood.

Verdict: Flawed if compelling, but you might wonder what the point is, if any. **1/2.

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