|The Exhibitionists (2012)|
|Writers:||Michael Edison Hayden|
|Starring:||Richard Short, Pepper Binkley, and Ella Rae Peck|
|The Plot: The Exhibitionists tells the story of one very decadent New Year’s Eve party. Hosted by Walter Todd (played by Richard Short), a filmmaker with a penchant for bizarre sexual obsessions, his party attracts a small crew, mostly artists, who range in popularity and intentions. As the night progresses, it seems that Walter intends to create a film focusing on his party guests. This group is made up of individuals who all hide their deepest desires from the world, and Walter intends to explore these taboos. His “cast” is an eclectic group, and as their mental stability is threatened, their secrets are very likely to be revealed to the world. Some within the group are more guarded than others, and as Walter presses them, the night will bring a very certain amount of danger.|
Although The Exhibitionists is a genuine piece of independent cinema, the filmmakers do a solid job in hiding their budgetary restraints. This is always an important aspect when it comes to gaining an audience, and this group manages to do just that. Shooting the film in one location, a city apartment with several rooms, the few sets in the movie appear to be fairly sparse, but this can easily be forgiven because it rings of some truth. The sets look stylish and remarkably sterile, but they aren’t so unusual that they defy reality or look cheap. During a few “testimonial” sequences within the movie, we are introduced to a very neat looking set that is decked out in the most blatantly obvious “pretentious film-studies student” fashion as can be believed. Yet, with a few filters and some quality color correction performed on the movie – it looks absolutely fantastic and still gritty enough to be believable. Along with the beautiful look is a very solid original soundtrack. Despite a different “style” and “look” for the film, the soundtrack is pure eighties nostalgia. A synth-heavy score that gives visions that are very different from what the movie actually provides, I found the dichotomy really engaging. It’s just another bit of icing on the cake when it comes to The Exhibitionists.
After all of the pieces fall together and everything is somewhat established, the movie becomes far more obtuse in terms of the narrative. Things meander around a bit, but generally the movie seems to be about the placement of these characters together and the reactions they get from one another. The actual expositional sequences, where the movie develops its central thesis, are far less interesting than the moments of character exploration. As the main cast become more enraptured by their sexual decadence and over-the-top behavior, the movie becomes far more intriguing. Exploring human sexuality in a very brooding fashion, The Exhibitionists plays out like a slightly more stylistic view of some of the same themes that were once explored in the Japanese gore title Red Room. While the two films are incredibly different from one another, each film is all about repressed sexual desires coming to the front and potentially leading to something much more dangerous.