In an attempt to spice up their sex life, free-spirited artist Jill (Caitlyn Folley) and her filmmaker boyfriend Adam (Ian Duncan), decide to record a sex tape. They find and break-in to an old abandoned hospital. It's not long before things start to turn dark as they investigate the building's ominous rooms and passageways, and, their seductive prank, meaning to arouse and terrify, goes terribly wrong as the pair soon realize they are not alone. Jill and Adam soon realize that some sex tapes should never be made as their kinky adventure turns into a desperate fight for survival.
With one of the film’s final moments given away in the first few minutes, we find out that Jill’s boyfriend Adam is dead. Adam is that vital ingredient of any found-footage project, a fanatical film-maker. He spends so much time behind the webcam that we only really see him at the close, with an impressively rendered hole in his head.
Jill is a carefree wild-child, an unsuccessful artist who feels that a show staged inside an abandoned hospital, The Vergerus Institute for Troubled Women would help give her the exposure she craves, in more ways than one. Not long after they (illegally) enter the hospital, the couple talk about filming a sex-tape with her strapped to a bed. Momentarily abandoning her in that vulnerable position, Adam fails to realise that in his absence, she appears to have been entered by a malevolent spirit. From then on, her behaviour spills over from impetuousness into murderous intent and madness.
Sx_Tape is exceptionally well-played. Caitlyn Folley is terrific as the central character, persuasively and increasingly erratic. Her boyfriend Adam (Ian Duncan) is irritated by her behaviour, but goes along with her anyway. It isn’t until they meet up with two friends Ellie and Bobby that her behaviour gets really cruel. Bobby (Chris Coy) is an objectionable bully – we don’t know whether this is the influence of the spirits, or just an extension of his overbearing personality.
As the group unwisely re-enter the hospital, ‘Sx Tape’ becomes less focussed and less interesting, relying on endless investigation of (admittedly creepy) rooms and wards, punctuated by sightings of the very unfrightening spirit. Things are lifted toward the end as we realise the extent to which Jill has been influenced by the spirit, and yet further by an implausible ending which is nevertheless painfully amusing.
Online reviews have been unnecessarily scathing of ‘Sx_Tape’, mainly because any sexual activity is not as graphic as some people would like. As a found-footage project, I was thoroughly entertained by this, mainly due to the actors.
Not to be confused with the rom-com starring Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz titled Sex Tape Sxtape is an off the wall US horror with a minimalist cast that uses the “found footage” filming style.
Anyone who has watched the Golden Globe winning Ryan Murphy show American Horror Story will have already basically seen this story, a couple go into a creepy and abandoned insane asylum to have sex. Where American Horror Story (in what I think is its weakest series thus far) runs with the idea for only a short period Sxtape drags the idea out for almost an hour and half, and it just doesn’t work.
Artist Jill (Caitlyn Folley) and documentary film maker boyfriend Adam (Ian Duncan) go in search for a new location for Jill’s latest project, finding an abandoned mental institute infamous for incarcerating unmarried mothers and lobotomizing its patients the couple decide that it isn’t just the perfect place for Jill’s exhibition but also for a little ‘exhibition’ of their own. However when Adam leaves Jill tied to a gurney mid hanky-panky the couple discover that there may be some truth to the rumoured hauntings.
Before I even saw the film I expected to argue that this would be nothing more than an excuse to get a couple of good looking actors to bump uglies whilst some mysterious spirits went bump elsewhere; however even this assumption proved incorrect as there was really only the most mild of on screen sex and passion; leaving Sxtape as not only a poor horror, but a failed porno to boot.
Though I welcome a film that can balance the conflicting and complimentary themes of sex and horror, this film lacks the innovation of the nude scene in the original Wicker Man without even indulging in the true horror of an old fashioned snuff film.
I give the filmmakers credit for their idea, any attempt at trying something a bit edgy ought to be applauded, however Sxtape ultimately lacks any real creativity or originality and as such makes it a real waste of time.