Demonlover (2002): 4 out of 10: Wow what an overlong train wreck of a movie. Before I begin to scratch the surface of the ineptitude of this film let me explain the few things Demonlover does right.
Demonlover does some things very well. It has individual scenes that work on their own either as erotic vignettes; (Chloe Sevigny playing videogames in the nude, an Asian girl seducing a French man at a nightclub after his lover leaves.) or plot actions (dosing a bottled water with Halcion) before the film ventures down the rabbit hole twenty-odd minutes in.
The general plot of Demonlover is a French conglomerate is looking to buy an adult anime company. Because of this, a rival adult anime distributor has sent a corporate spy to put a kibosh on the proceedings. That is the story, there is some silliness about a secret torture and bondage site on the dark web but the story, in a nutshell, is an Anime buyout scheme.
So how can a thriller dealing with bondage and hentai and starring Chloë Sevigny, Gina Gershon, and the hot redhead from The Devil’s Advocate, Connie Nielsen, possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing, there are cloistered nuns that know more about marketing animated porn online than writer/director Olivier Assayas does.
I often complain about movies where the writers and director have clearly never worked in an office (13 Going on 30 for example) but this is over the top. The French, as an example, are worried about a secret website that makes lots of money. If the website makes lots of money… wait for it… it probably is not a secret. Moreover, I am sure that cornering the online Hentai traffic is an unattainable goal. After all, how hard is it to draw new tentacle porn? In addition, I doubt many corporate spies scale the sides of buildings or poison colleagues. Moreover, with the silliest script on this side of 2003’s The Core, you cannot depend on the ever confusing and contrived plot.
I know I praised the sex scenes above but with this cast, I was expecting more, a lot more. Also, I often did not know where the movie was taking place. (are they in Tokyo or France is a popular game you can play.) Then there is the car chase, at the end, that looks like an outtake from Vanishing Point. (As Tom Servo would have said “Meanwhile in another decade”)The film is overlong, very confusing, somewhat boring and the characters’ IQs seem to drop every scene. After the fifteenth fade to black transition, I screamed “end already” at the screen.
In reality, this seems to be a badly done remake of Videodrome. Olivier Assayas is no David Cronenberg. He cannot even tell a simple story believably and entertainingly. Or take advantage of three of the hottest actresses in the business.