If you’re looking for erotic thrillers I’m sure you could find many that are better than Sensation. Hell, if you were looking for any kind of movie you could do that. The storytelling is off along with pacing and the plot is rather simplistic. Even the acting is problematic at times. However, this is not why we watch these movies. So, if you’re wondering how much sexually explicit content here the answer is plenty. I wouldn’t go so far as to say too much as, well, you know. But, we rarely go for fifteen minutes without some sort of a tantalizing scene.
I have to be honest here and admit that the only reason why I checked out Sensation is Kari Wuhrer. I first saw her in Anaconda and then a couple of years later in Eight Legged Freaks. And I completely forgot that she was in an eighties fantasy classic The Beastmaster. In those movies she was not only gorgeous but also knew how to act very well. Unfortunately, this is one of her earlier movies and her acting skills were still off a little bit. Especially because she was playing this shy girl and not someone of authority. However, she is nude here most of the time, so there’s that. Not as nude as she was in Vivid that’s basically a soft-core porn but with a atrocious plot and storytelling.
Lila Reed is a young student strapped for cash. So, she decides to participate in the new study by one of her professors, Dr. Ian Burton. All she has to do is fill out a form and report back what she feels when she touches a certain object. Dr. Burton is trying to confirm his theory that objects retain certain aspects of people who were around them although other things about him will soon come to the light. Things that will make Lila fear for her life.
From a technical standpoint, Sensation is an excellent movie. The visuals are sleek and even the soundtrack is quite good. You wouldn’t know this is a B movie if it weren’t for B movie actors. The atmosphere is steamy and sexually charged. And how wouldn’t be with that much nudity? I particularly liked the painting scene. You can also feel what they were trying to do with the story that’s a mixture of murder, supernatural, and sex. Quite a potent mix, you’ll have to admit. There are even some unexpected twists towards the end.
However, all of these elements lack depth and some of the scenes are unintentionally hilarious. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at the sight of half-nude Eric Roberts painted like a tiger, growling and fucking the air? The bar was sure low back in the nineties. Have you seen any recent erotic thrillers? The whole genre seems to have disappeared just at the turn of the century. At least if we’re talking about Hollywood movies. Spain, France, Italy, and even Japan continued to make movies like this.
With all this being said, I have to say that I found Sensation to be a liberating and refreshing experience. You just don’t see stories like this and this opens a whole new line of engagement. There are several moral issues from the exploitation of vulnerable people over mental health problems and finally the tired old “older man – younger woman” relationship. The writer is clearly out of his depth, stumbling in the dark while trying to construct an acceptable narrative. So, this will give you something to think about until the next sex scene.
Director: Brian Grant
Writer: Doug Wallace
Cast: Eric Roberts, Kari Wuhrer, Ron Perlman, Paul Le Mat, Claire Stansfield, Ed Begley Jr.
Fun Facts: The film that Danny and Lila are watching is Roman Polanski’s Le locataire (1976).