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Darker Shades of Elise (2017) Review

Disturbing erotic thriller has twist on a familiar story.

Darker Shades of Elise is a 2017 drama about a woman whose life takes a sharp turn for the worst when she meets a mysterious and alluring stranger who has more than friendship on his mind.

Hell, they say, has nothing on a woman scorned and in movies, these women have made for some truly fun bits of entertainment. From secret lovers to betrayed wives, these are girls who take matters into their own hands when their lovers or husbands go astray. Now comes Darker Shades of Elise, a title begging to get associated with a certain other film, that has plenty of sex and violence in a movie that stumbles with some technical issues but is nonetheless a chilling story.

Elise Styles (Becca Hirani listed as Becky Fletcher) is an unhappily married woman, her workaholic husband Rick (Tommy Vilés) seemingly disinterested in their marriage anymore, even forgetting their latest anniversary and even still, choosing work over her showing up at his office with some champagne and a surprise under her trenchcoat. She suspects he’s having an affair. A bit later, after spying on her best friend having some passionate sex of her own, she takes up an affair with a photographer named Felix (Arron Blake), a handsome rogue who shows her some real passion. This opens a floodgate of sexual encounters with multiple lovers but when she decides to pull the plug on the whole affair discovers a darker side of it all as Felix isn’t quite ready for rejection.

Directed by Jamie Weston, Darker Shades of Elise makes for a nice twist with the obsessive lover being the man, and while it is low budget and often familiar, there’s a sexual energy to it that helps keep it raw, if not a little absurd, which is half the point. It’s got loads of eroticism and a fair share of malice as things take a sharp turn once Elise cuts things off, the flirty and often potent sexual moments abandoned for more hostile waters. That’s one of the stronger aspects of the story, which sets up a lot of foreplay with softcore sex before making its shift. Elise spirals down a path of debauchery that include threesomes while Felix watches and photographs them, which of course becomes the weapons against her when the time comes.

Darker Shades of Elise
Darker Shades of Elise, 2017 © Proportion Productions

Darker Shades of Elise is held together by Hirani’s fearless performance, a strong presence that grounds the story even as it reaches for incredulity. Her need for something exciting has her plummeting fast and taking some serious risks, even with Rick in the next room and when it loses that allure and becomes vengeful, it is anything but desirable. In one of the more harrowing scenes, she is forced to do something that was once lustful but now traumatizing and Hirani does good work in showing us the difference. It’s not an easy moment to get through.

The film’s budget limits the movie’s greater message though, with some moments of poor audio, editing and lots of uninspiring music. These are mostly easily overlooked though as the story itself and Weston’s direction keep this compelling, especially as it all comes to a head in the vicious finale. A solid erotic thriller, Darker Shades of Elise is a worth a look.

Darker Shades of Elise (2017) Review

Movie description: Darker Shades of Elise is a 2017 drama about a woman whose life takes a sharp turn for the worst when she meets a mysterious and alluring stranger who has more than friendship on his mind.

Director(s): Jamie Weston

Actor(s): Darcie Lincoln, Becca Hirani, Tara MacGowran

Genre: Thriller

  • Our Score
User Rating 4.27 (11 votes)