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Case Number 10520: Small Claims Court

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Open Cam

Wolfe Video // 2005 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 22nd, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum chapped something wathching this gay, erotic mystery.

The Charge

The Internet's not just for sex anymore…

The Case

A serial killer is on the loose in Washington D.C., and he's targeting guys from a gay-hookup website named "Washington Dick." A pattern begins to emerge as the police realize each of the victims have been hoping to bed an aspiring, athletic, gay artist named Manny (Andreau Thomas). Luckily for the painter with pecs, a recently out homicide cop (Amir Darvish) takes a liking to him and goes undercover under the covers with him to solve the case. Plenty of sex, some graphic kills (including castration), and techno music all promise to deliver a sexy thriller with an unapologetic homosexual slant. Unfortunately Open Cam only achieves half its goals. (Those lie mainly in the sex department.) The thriller aspect leaves a little to be desired, but queer cinema aficionados may not notice with the amount of skin on display.

Shot cheaply on location in and around the D.C. metro area, Open Cam doesn't have high production values. Even worse, it has a script with severe lapses in logic that undermine the tension of the inventive scenario. Why would anyone log on to a webcam site after knowing people who have been killed on camera as they try to get their rocks off? Why would a homicide detective spend time round the clock with a potential victim, and also decide to have sexual relations with him? How does the killer anticipate the Web activity of both parties to insure that Manny sees him kill people live? Why do gay guys sit through crappy movies like this just to catch some hot scenes when porn is so readily available?

The sex is pretty graphic in Open Cam. So much so the film is preceded by a warning stating all the models are of a consenting age, and a warning that the film is illegal to view by audience members under 21 in several states. There is very little full frontal action in the proper feature; most of it is in shadows or blocked artfully. Yet a climactic sex scene in the last reel goes farther than most films ever dare, with full, side-angle, man-on-man action. It puts Queer as Folk to shame for a minute, but you have to plod through most of the plot to get there.

The story is an interesting idea with real world implications. Sites like Manhunt have been mainstays of the gay community with guys finding each other randomly and anonymously in every city of America and beyond. It would be an easy task for a serial killer to trick an unsuspecting victim to come over, get naked, and fall prey in short order. It's the old "promiscuous sex = death" equation that has informed thrillers and horror stories for centuries. It's a classic construct that should work like gangbusters.

The movie needed more aggressive editing, and a clearer narrative. It feels unbearably long without any point or poignancy. The scares aren't there, and neither are the characters. The plots meander in so many directions it's ironically hard to keep anyone straight. Threads are picked up, lost, and then picked up again too many times to make us care. The final reveal of the killer and his motives are almost as lame as the way he is dispatched by the protagonists. The acting is seriously wooden. About the only saving grace are the hot sexy scenes and a decidedly hip techno score provided by hardcore homo rapper Houston Bernard and ex Duran Duran stand in musician Warren Cuccurullo. The only reason to catch this movie is the music and the sex, but you have to sit through what feels like an eternity of mishandled material. The movie's a mess, and hardly makes sense on any level other than between the sheets.

Here's where the extras can save you one hundred minutes of your life. Open Cam features a low tech yet pretty hot video by Houston Bernard which will give you the experience of one of the best songs on the soundtrack without having to watch the film. If you're looking for sex scenes check out the deleted and extended section. Full frontal nudity can be found here in great abundance, as well as full cuts of the major sex scenes without as many edits. It's a boy's best friend for those who just want the hotness with none of the lame mystery thriller. Thank you Wolfe Video! The transfer and sound delivery are simply adequate; clear enough to let us see and hear things, but never looking more professional than the indie level of the crude film. Trust me, you won't mind the shortcomings.

Open Cam never works as a thriller, and that's too bad. It has a sordid premise that promises to deliver a gay Basic Instinct, but instead delivers a low-rent Basic Instinct 2. You'll plow through the movie to catch the sexy leads finally get it on, but then you'll chap your lips laughing at how the story resolves. It is worth a look for the hot stuff, and it's nice to see Houston Bernard popping up on a soundtrack (he's long overdue some recognition by the gay community). So if you're in the mood for something sexy and silly Open Cam just might fit the bill. Keep your expectations low, and your pants halfway unzipped.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 69

Perp Profile

Studio: Wolfe Video
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Erotic
• Gay
• Mystery

Distinguishing Marks

• Music Video by Houston Bernard
• Deleted Sexy Scenes


• IMDb
• Vintage Houston Bernard Interview
• Manhunt

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