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Ghost Canyon

'Dangerous Attractions - 10 Killer Thrillers'
(Will Estes, Amanda Righetti, Dougray Scott, Eric Szmanda, Katee Sackhoff, et al / 2-Disc DVD / R / 2016 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Lust. Betrayal. Murder. When obsessions turn deadly, there’s nobody to trust and nowhere to hide. In this terrifying collection of thrillers, you’ll be on the edge-of-your-seat as mysteries unfold and the body count rises.

DVD Verdict: First up is 'Dangerous Attraction' (2012), starring Will Estes, Amanda Righetti, Harry Hamlin, and Eric Szmanda. Based on a true story. When Morgan Pierce (Will Estes - TV’s Blue Bloods) quit his job at the coffee shop, Casey Cooper (Amanda Righetti - TV’s The Mentalist) thought she’d seen the last of her odd and off-putting co-worker. But when Morgan starts calling Casey and watching her at work, she knows something is wrong.

The title (aka 'Shadow Of Fear') doesn't indicate that this is an above average lifetime movie with good acting and a plausible story. For this kind of movie it isn't too overboard. It avoids melodrama or shock tactics and remains plausible and realistic. Of course it is a movie so there are some elements of the plot that feel like a composite to achieve a dramatic story.

Next up is 'A Deadly Obsession' (2012), starring Katee Sackhoff, Grant Harvey, and John Shea. Psychology professor Suzanne Hollander is a popular teacher and respected researcher at a prestigious college on the East Coast. But what the students and faculty don’t know is that Suzanne’s interest in psychology comes from a dark place in her past… a past which Suzanne can no longer outrun.

Sorry, but this movie was really quite poor - and then we get a midsection mess where a random due walks up into a BIG police and FBI situation, claims to be an ex-Marine, shows he has a side arm, and is then given carte blanche to infiltrate the BIG situation that they are currently embroiled in! Bollocks! Complete and utter bollocks, sorry! Did the writer research anything about law enforcement?!

Then comes 'No One Will Know' (2012), starring Ben Bledsoe, Jesses Draper, Kelly Curran, and Matt Wool. On the surface, Nathan and Aubrey are the perfect couple. They’re young, attractive, wealthy, ambitious, and recently engaged. The film opens on the day of their engagement party at Aubrey’s parent’s house, a stunning estate on a remote bay outside of San Francisco. Their guest list includes a few close friends from their childhood, but what the guests don’t know is that Nathan and Aubrey are covering up a murder.

With an estimated budget of just $50,000, 'No One Will Know' is actually a rather half decent little movie that could (shock). The seemingly perfect couple's façade throughout is dependent on whether or not they are able to keep from revealing their role in a murder while holding their engagement party on a remote bay just outside of San Francisco. And, for the longest time they do, but, as always, things begin to unravel.

That's followed by 'Absolute Fear' (2012), starring Stephanie Lemelin, Matthew Alan, A.J. Draven, Caleb Thorne, and Patrick Bergin. Jessie Valiquette (Stephanie Lemelin - The Last Harbor) follows her scribe boyfriend of 3 years Dale Morrow (Matthew Alan - Red Tails) on a search for his long lost father (Patrick Bergin - Sleeping with the Enemy) last heard from on a deserted island. Along with a group of unwitting friends, the young couple encounters more than they bargained for when they discover not only was Dale’s father part of a top-secret government project testing the depth of people's fears, but also that he had very good reason for not wanting to be found.

With a tagline such as "Don't believe everything you see", you know there's gonna be some twists and turns - whether they are any good or not is a whole other kettle of fish though! Well, I can tell you that out of the twists and turns, the big reveals, the small reveals that at least 75% hit their mark perfectly. So, yeah, watch it, it's worth your time.

The first disc ends with 'Behind Your Eyes' (2011), starring Frida Farrell, Tom Sandoval, Daniel Fanaberia, and Kristen Doute. Young, hopeful couple Erika (Frida Farrell) and Steve (Tom Sandoval) embark on a weekend retreat to meet Steven's parents. Things take a turn for the worst when they are unexpectedly kidnapped and held hostage. Now, it's a fight for their lives against their mysterious abductor (Daniel Fanaberia) and the secrets he possesses.

This convoluted story had so many flaws I don't know where to begin! The women who were killed/tortured looked almost identical. I actually, seriously, found myself going back and forth to make sure the same woman wasn't getting killed/tortured over and over! The acting was sub-par. There was no chemistry between the leads especially when emotions were supposed to be running high. All the characters were one dimensional. Sorry, but it's all true, Find out for yourselves.

The second disc opens with 'Suspicion' (2012), starring Brad Blaisdell, Suzanne May, and Aidan Bristow. Darrell Jacobs (Brad Blaisdell - The Negotiator, Inspector Gadget) is a retired mobster living in Phoenix. As cancer consumes him, he quietly runs out the clock, roaming downtown daily and frequenting his favorite café. Young waitress Alicia Foret (Suzanne May - Gentlemen Broncos), a law student at ASU, is intrigued by the mysterious regular and follows him home. They quickly form a friendship that puts Alicia in danger, and forces Darrell to finalize any unfinished ‘business.’

This is a slow moving story that concentrates maybe a bit too much on the human compassion side between Alicia and Darrell and not the criminal activities Alicia's boyfriend is involved into. Also, well, the whole story is a rather convoluted mess involving innocence, corruption, and deceit.

Along for the thrill ride next is 'Bad Behavior' (2013), starring Hallee Hirsch, Ted McGinley, and Linda Hamilton. When Zoe takes an overnight babysitting assignment from a seemingly perfect family, the only worry she has is avoiding the unwelcome advances of teen brothers Tyler and Jack. Things go awry when Zoe suddenly finds herself in a bathroom groggy and confused with only the two youngest kids with her. While Tyler tries to explain how they got in there, an intruder attempts to break the door in. Soon Zoe discovers the “intruder” is Jack, who’s had a psychotic break.

If you think this babysitter looks familiar she's been in a lot of stuff. I remember her back from the show ER. She was Dr. Green's (Anthony Edwards) bratty daughter. She is great as Zoe, the babysitter, in this movie. She is in charge of three kids. I was wondering why they needed a babysitter since Jack seems old enough to care for the other kids. But you soon find out that there is something not right with this guy, so no wonder they need a babysitter!

Then up is 'A Thousand Kisses Deep' (2011), starring Jodie Whittaker, Dougray Scott, and David Warner. Returning home from work, Mia (Jodie Whittaker – St. Trinian’s) witnesses an aged woman leap from a window. Scattered around the old woman’s broken, lifeless body Mia discovers shredded pieces from a beloved photograph of herself and her former lover Ludwig (Dougray Scott – Mission: Impossible II). Highly unnerved, Mia begs Max (David Warner – Titanic), the buildings’ all-knowing custodian, to let her into the deceased woman’s flat. While inside this strangely familiar place, Mia recognizes the contents as her own.

This is director Dana Lustig's latest film credit, and I hope there are many more to come. It is one of the rare thrillers with a female perspective which I (a guy) find so much more provocative than the standard Hollywood thrillers about some dude who's steamrolling through the story trying to be cool.

'Wages of Sin' (2011), starring Lauren Martin, Travis Quentin Young, and Katharine Everett is next up. A small town in 1964. A time before cell phones, computers and twenty-four hour news channels. BUDDY, a handsome, charismatic drifter, convinces CELEE, a lonely young woman, to kidnap the richest girl in town. The ransom money will be their ticket to a new life and he promises her that, “Nobody will get hurt.” As three desperate lives collide, in this dark, edgy thriller, they all come to learn…. Somebody always gets hurt.

Although there are only three actors in the cast, they were able to hold my interest and keep me guessing as to what was going to happen next. None of the actors are household names, but should be on everyone's radar for the future.

Finally we're given 'Murder in Miami' (2014), starring Joseph Myers, and Caroline Gutierrez. In modern Miami, gleaming new condo skyscrapers become the backdrop to this Film noir thriller. After several beautiful models are murdered by a disguised killer, a young, successful fashion photographer becomes the prime suspect. As more women are murdered, he finds himself in a race to clear his name and save his own life, and in the process, uncovers some dark secrets hidden behind the glass and concrete facade of the magic city.

Director/Writer Will Vázquez does the best he can with what he had to hand here on 'Murder in Miami', trust me. Not the most believable, or even unique story line re: several beautiful models being murdered by a disguised serial killer, BUT here in this very modern day Miami, all those aforementioned new condo skyscrapers really do set the tone for what eventually turns into a whodunnit in the throes of a rather decent Noir thriller. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Enjoy!