Blood Violence and Babes: 50 ways to bleed your lover

A new fetish-torture thriller avoids any shades of grey by tying up its characters — and audience — in knots. Subversive, kinky knots.

click to enlarge Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey. - Artsploitation Films
Artsploitation Films
Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey.

Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey. begins like a lot of scary movies with an exterior shot of a modest home in a nice neighborhood.

Inside, a married couple, Tom and Alison, are doing what most married couples do. They’re shagging like an adults-only Wild Kingdom episode until they’re caught mid-coitus by a deviant man with devilish intentions.

That man, Aaron, has let himself in to Tom and Alison’s home without an invitation, and now he plans to take Alison as his weekend bride.

Within minutes, Deadly Virtues explodes in a whirling rush of violence and bondage. Tom is bloodied and hog-tied in the tub, and Alison is encased in an alluring wrap of ropes, her lithe limbs cinched tight, as she dangles from the kitchen ceiling with just one foot on the floor.

And, from there, things get weird.

Dutch director Ate de Jong may be best known to U.S. genre fans for a pair of cult classics from 1991 – Drop Dead Fred, which starred Phoebe Cates and Rik Mayall, and Highway to Hell, which featured Chad Lowe, and was the screenwriting debut of Brian Helgeland.

Neither of those films, however, bears any resemblance to Deadly Virtues, which is currently available from Artsploitation Films on most streaming Video-on-Demand platforms.

Working off first-time feature writer Mark Rogers's script, de Jong fully embraces his dark side, allowing his camera to track Aaron as he psychologically and physically tortures Tom, making him watch as Aaron plays with a nude Alison in the bath or as he forces Alison to seductively change into a skintight catsuit as he photographs her.

In one of the film’s more brazen moments, Tom’s ball-gagged objections to Aaron demanding that Alison let both men watch her urinate unleashes Aaron’s fury in a vengeful bout of humiliating golden showers.

With so many fetishes covered in such a short time, Deadly Virtues could have grown tiresome or played like a shallow rundown of The Moonlite Bunny Ranch’s menu of sexual taboos.

But there’s more to Deadly Virtues than just the titillation.

For one, Aaron himself is a confounding character. He’s a full-on bad, bad guy, but he seems to operate by a very strict code. He never really lays a hand on Alison in anger. Instead, he punishes her by punishing Tom, namely cutting off Tom’s fingers and cauterizing the wounds, or carving a very specific word in Tom’s flesh.

Aaron wants to believe he is in love, and he wants Alison to be his wife, but only for two days. He cooks for her. He opens her wine. He asks her to dress up for him. And he doesn’t take advantage of her, even when she’s strapped to the bed.

All this despite Alison’s repeated attempts to escape or find a weapon or make a frantic call to local authorities.

And Aaron uses the down time, when both Tom and Alison are tied up and indisposed, to rummage through Tom’s collection of homemade sex tapes where he finds several videos of interest. One shows Tom erupting at Alison in a fit of rage after a nurse-patient roleplay session goes wrong. Another shows Tom berating Alison in front of their newborn, who is conspicuously absent from the household. And then there’s the video of Tom with Alison’s best friend Sarah. He also finds explicit text messages from Sarah on Tom’s phone.

Aaron doesn’t attempt to use this information to turn Alison against her husband. Instead, he uses it to torment Tom as a philandering hothead before continuing his queasy courtship of Tom's bride.

Some viewers may be turned off by this sudden and unexpected shift from torture porn to domestic drama, but wait — there’s more.

The third act of Deadly Virtues is where de Jong goes for broke. Suffice to say, there’s a twist, and it’s a good one – maybe not as unexpected as some would like, but still surprising enough in its ferocity to pull you back into the story, fully engaged.

If there’s a lesson lurking beneath the carefully crafted bondage, it’s this: While it’s wise to beware the monster just outside your front door, there are worse monsters to be found, sometimes inside your own home.

And therein lies the conflicting rub at the heart of Deadly Virtues.

Much like the far tamer, and considerably more ridiculous, Fifty Shades of Grey, de Jong’s fetishized approach to the Dominant/submissive roleplay that mounts between Aaron and Alison creates a quandary far removed from reality. Like Christian Grey, the boring and selfish dominant billionaire in Fifty Shades, Aaron does not represent the archetype of what true lifestyle aficionados enjoy about the D/s community.

For one, Aaron is a sociopath. He uses his job as a key maker to target and victimize women who enter his shop seeking help in making a spare or replacement key. For another, all of his pseudo-pop-psychology babble about gender roles and marital vows, which he spouts ad nauseum to Alison and Tom, are undermined by his violent eruptions and his needy narcissism.

To make Aaron the de facto hero by default is offensive and a bitter denouement to Alison’s arc of self-discovery through shock and self-preservation, especially since de Jong ends his film by focusing elsewhere on the next possible victim. 

Should such real-life complexities erode the sheer enjoyment value of watching a well-crafted, if flawed, home invasion thriller? Probably not.

Genre film fans who enjoy a healthy dollop of alt-sex play slathered throughout their bloody carnage will likely get a big kick out of de Jong’s film. It’s subversive enough to push boundaries, but smart enough not to resort to Skinemax-style softcore parody.

And, unlike a lot of “adult” thrillers, it does a better than expected job of showcasing the erotic appeal and genuine artistry of fetish favorites like the intricate Japanese Shibari rope bondage without devolving into camp.

Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey.

Genre: Erotic/Home Invasion

Directed by: Ate de Jong

Run time: 87 minutes

Rating: Unrated

Format: Video-on-Demand

 

The Stuff You Care About:

Hot chicks – Yes.

Nudity – Yes.

Gore – Oh yeah.

Drug use – No.

Bad Guys/Killers – Well, that’s a complicated answer.

Buy/Rent – Rent it.

Released – February 7, 2017

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BloodViolenceandBabes.com
BVB

For a complete rundown of all New Releases, plus movie news, interviews and more, visit BVB online at Blood Violence and Babes.com, like us on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes and follow us on Twitter @BVB_reviews.

About The Author

John W. Allman

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films...
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