Darker Shades of Elise Pays A 50 Shades of Homage
Darker Shades of Elise Film Details
Director: Jamie Weston
Writer: Shannon Holiday
Release Date: 10 July 2017* *Resource IMDb
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 1h 32min
Social Networking: Facebook
Elise’s life takes a sharp turn for the worst when she meets a mysterious and alluring stranger who has more than friendship on his mind – A tale of love, fantasy, and obsession.
Erotica and/or BDSM imagery is a theme featured in Horror cinema. In fact, depictions of pleasure and trauma have a home with Clive Barker’s leather-clad demonic entities. Erotic Thrillers set up emotional assaults connected with its sadomasochism and power-play narrative. These films, most times, tie BDSM culture with appropriate references and/or performances.
With Darker Shades of Elise the film treks on tension and Thriller elements. The events screenwriter Shannon Holiday sets in motion revolve around betrayal, esteem issues, and obsession. These are popular materials in recent Hollywood releases, films that cater to the twenty (20) to forty (40) year old female demographic. E.L. James‘ novel to film adaptations is proof positive to this statement.
James’ novel and its film variants are tame in correlation to the culture it struggles to interpret. Holiday with her narrative pays homage to and treks on the same sensual storyline with her tangled web of passion and conflicts.
The figures displayed in Darker Shades of Elise are the model to many love triangle narratives. Audiences will encounter nothing extraordinary with the backstory and internal/external strife. We have the quintessential destructive, attention starved lover. The cheater which is the titular character Elise and finally the oblivious partner is present. With the commonplace characters comes an ordinary storyline; friends become lovers and lovers become mortal foes.
I found admiration for the performances. For Darker Shades of Elise, it is the psychotic yet suave demeanor characterized by Actor Arron Blake that steals the spotlight. Blake’s portrait of a commanding master and zealous lover will arrest the average viewer with ease. Yet, it is the character’s absence of complexity, not Blake’s performance that creates a Disney scoundrel than an imposing menace. Some research into the works of Author Fritz Springmeier would have better prepared this fictional portrait of a master, handler, mind manipulator.
Actress Becca Hirani is a talented actress and am accustomed to her phenomenal performances. With Darker Shades of Elise, I was torn by the character Hirani portrays. While her emotional context was evident it was the feeble construct, the naive persona I had a difficulty accepting. Nothing about this character depicts female empowerment. Instead, audiences will see a woman with low self-esteem making bad choices. Masking Hirani’s talent is her numerous nude scenes, although alluring, felt unnecessary in context.
The supporting roles are what audiences expect to see depicted in a vicious, toxic love triangle narrative. There is no disputing the capacities of the actors/actresses involved but to emphasize, the character structure mirrored every other erotic Thriller on the market now.
The cinematography was outstanding. I enjoyed the angles Weston used to communicate a dominant or commanding image. The sex scenes presented itself in an elegant artistic fashion thus avoiding this film become a soft porn tribute. Lighting and set design also play into the visual appeal for Darker Shades of Elise. Yet, with the strong emotions invested in the storyline what this film lacked was artistic lighting gels. Soft lit reds, greens and magenta colors would have enhanced the visual impact. Each location would have been specific in conveying a particular sentiment.
Darker Shades of Elise may sustain a specific niche within the story form but this film does not present authentic and/or redefining content. The process in which the plot unfolds makes little to no sense. How does the antagonist gain entry to the home with accompanying visitors in tow under the owner’s radar?
Does the filmmaker expect audiences to be as gullible as Hirani’s character? Are we to believe the unsuspecting spouse is so out of touch with sensibility that he can not smell or see or hear areas of his own home? How cliche, it is the sole aspect seeking to tempt our mindset
Darker Shades of Elise is in a class by itself riding the coattails of popular sexual powerplay themed narratives. What the film lacked is a critical analysis of how masters, handlers and/or authoritative doms overpower their submissive lovers. Introducing threesomes and bisexual play for the sake of making an erotic Thriller makes this, as I noted earlier a soft porn tribute. Yet, the caliber of in cinematography work makes Darker Shades of Elise artistic in tone.
The highlights, however, are the cast, I appreciated the performances of everyone involved. Yet, the actors deserved originality in the roles they interpreted. Actor Arron Blake shines while Actress Becca Hirani tones her acting strengths down a notch for a weaker portrait.