The Sculptress

Direct-to-video check: The Sculptress contains a scene at a strip bar, a scene of lesbian kissing, a woman pleasuring herself, a bad plot, bad acting, an almost washed-up Hollywood actor, and a beautiful starlet. So why is this in theaters? It is definitely not in wide release, and there is little spending on advertising. Any critics who see it will not give it good reviews. Chances are this movie will play in art cinemas, where audiences do not exactly cater to supernatural thrillers. The only thing missing from The Sculptress that would qualify it as soft-core pornography is gratuitous amounts of nudity. But hey, that's what sequels are for, right? The Sculptress will most likely follow the route of Poison Ivy. One wide release movie, then sequels with lots more nudity that are sandwiched between bigger films at the local video store.

Sarah (Katie Wright, Idle Hands) is an art student in San Francisco. She's from England, and this is the first time she's in the United States. She has no friends, and happens to move in next door to Dobie (Jeff Fahey, The Contract), a serial killer. Gee, excited yet? Strange things begin happening to Sarah. She has odd dreams at night. In class, her sculptures look nothing like the subject. Her sculpting teacher Monsieur Giraud (Patrick Bauchau, Twin Falls Idaho, The Cell) is the only person who will listen to her. She begins a slow relationship with him, while they try to figure out what is going on. Dobie is always screaming at something in his apartment, acting out Shakespeare to nobody, and stalking women while wearing different, gaudy costumes. He eventually drills a hole in the wall separating his and Sarah's apartment, and begins to spy on her. Because this is a bad movie, the two strands will intertwine into a plot that still doesn't really have any logic to it. It turns out that something is possessing her, causing her to sculpt the person who dies next.

Writer/director Ian Merrick throws everything together haphazardly. Things happen excruciatingly slowly, with major plot points revealed by Giraud printing slowly and in big block letters in his notebook. Bauchau is a decent actor, but usually ends up in questionable roles. He has a great voice that would make him suitable for the role of Dobie. Fahey's Dobie is not much of anything. He sits in his apartment and rants and raves at one of his costumes, which then talks back to him. He is crazy because his hair is tousled and he looks like crap. As for Wright, she cannot decide what accent to use. She is not British, she is American. Sometimes, she sounds British. Most of the time, she sounds like somebody trying to speak with an accent, and sometimes there is no trace of an accent. And why are people speaking French in San Francisco? And why do they suddenly stop? And if they can stop, why does the movie go on?

Mongoose Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 32 minutes, Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, language, and some violence.

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