I’m not one for reviewing many adult movies. This isn’t necessarily for lack of interest but I’ve just never really found the right 1hr+ adult shoot to capture my interest and lead me to a review.
That is until I heard about SNAPSHOT.
Produced by Pinklabel.tv, the same people behind my favorite porn, The Crashpad, SNAPSHOT is an erotic suspense thriller headed by people of color in a huge celebration of queer identity and body acceptance.
The film puts queer identity at its heart, as a love story between a freelance photographer, Charlie (Beretta James), and her older interest, Danny (Chocolate Chip) figure out their relationship dynamic amidst a murder mystery.
Oh yeah. Let’s get in to it.
There’s a reason that SNAPSHOT is described as a thriller—in between candid moments of flirtation and fucking lies the story of a freelance photographer whom has accidentally taken a snapshot of a murderer and may now find herself as his next victim.
Or is it?
In reality, things are actually the mirror opposite of this. The presence of the murderer in SNAPSHOT is a catalyst for the meeting of Charlie and Danny, and provides a backdrop to their experiences but that’s all it is: a backdrop. The true attention of this film is the coming out of Charlie and Danny through their chance encounter.
Charlie is a voyeur of the most overt kind. We start the film with her snapping a shot of two individuals fucking and, throughout the movie, things only get more intense from here.
In one particularly revealing scene we are treated to Charlie taking photos of a model for an erotic shoot. As the model masturbates on command of the cameras, Charlie just watches intently, silently, and the two exchange an unbroken and profound exchange of gazes.
With a silent locking of looks the complex relationship dynamic of these two, and the intricacies of Charlie’s fetish, become apparent, all without a single bit of dialogue exchanged.
Danny, on the other hand, is completely uninitiated in to the world of sex parties, voyeurism, and being watched for the arousal of her potential partner. Her coming out isn’t just in to a world that she is completely unfamiliar with (a sexual emergence of a kind) but also in her admittance that what she wants from Charlie, from a relationship, is something more.
Danny craves intimacy in a way that she is uncertain Charlie can provide. Charlie wants to share her world with Danny but she fears what breaking past the barriers of her fetish might do to her own sense of desire.
And also there’s a killer.
I have, so far, breezed over the killer quite a bit and that’s because the movie intentionally does the same. To quote the Director, Shine Louise Houston:
Stylistically, the murder serves as a catalyst for their relationship, symbolic of their triumphs over fears of intimacy. Structurally, the mystery is a MacGuffin: it serves as a catalyst for Danny and Charlie’s relationship which unfolds in unexpected ways over the course of the film.
That’s not to say that the thriller element of the shoot doesn’t play an important role. Houston themselves quotes some of the key influences of SNAPSHOT as ‘film classics such as Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Antonioni’s Blow Up’ and, although the movie inverts tropes from such films, it also lovingly tributes them.
As a horror buff, some of my favorite parts of SNAPSHOT were actually some of the moments that focused on the killer. The initial encounter with the killer is particularly powerful and reminds me of one of my favorite horror movies, Shutter (the original, not the Western remake). I really do have to commend this film for its use of horror and thriller tropes and the wonderful way in which it executes them.
Equally stunning where the erotic scenes, which really showcased the talents of everyone involved. Houston is clearly very proficient in highlight the most pertinent and arousing moments from sexual interactions, and the sex scenes weren’t just well-performed but where brilliantly shot too. At times the movie felt a bit artistic, but this never detracted from the primal arousal that the film could illicit and it is worth a viewing for its sex party scene alone.
That being said I found that thrills and erotic excitement where what Houston was best at, whereas the rest was…sadly lacking.
The acting at times felt dry and stilted. At one point I did physically cringe at a particularly forced exposition scene and it left me sighing with frustration. By this point in the film it had already proved itself so much, with the previously mentioned silent masturbation scene. To see it go from that to a very clunky ‘Thank you for meeting me at [insert location here] for [insert reason here]. I’m so glad you could make it’ was just, disappointing.
I also felt that, at times, the pacing did suffer and I feel this ties in with the dialogue issues. At times it felt like the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule of cinema was being deliberately abandoned to get from point A to point B and I feel like the director is capable of a lot more.
The musical score, although on point whenever it appeared, was also a bit lacking, and I feel like a few more tracks would have really helped ease the wooden tone of some of the dialogue. Actually, given how tense the score could make things at time I’m almost certain of this.
Some parts of the movie also didn’t seem to make sense, acting more as a tick box of thriller clichés rather than earned moments of sincere dread buuuut I’m going to choose to consider this as an intentional play on genre tropes rather than anything else. Because, y’know, the porn was pretty damned hot.
Overall I enjoyed SNAPSHOT and found that it appealed to a lot of the movie conventions that I would typically seek out from regular films.
Granted, at times I did feel like the dialogue was akin to Birdemic levels of awkward, but every moment like this was counterbalanced by another moment showcasing the talent involved in this work.
It’s clear that the people who worked on SNAPSHOT are passionate about what they do, and when the movie needs to be arousing it knows exactly how to get you hot under the collar. Its exploration of the coming out tale was very well done and its genre choice inspired.
There are a few hiccups, yes, but I still feel that SNAPSHOT is well worth a watch, especially for horror and thriller fans such as myself.
Do Not Recommend to:
People who dislike horrors/thrillers.
People looking for top performances.
People who need consistent pacing.
SNAPSHOT was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. If you want to support my site please purchase it via the links included.