6.7/10
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10 user 7 critic

Shock to the System (2006)

A gay detective tries to solve the murder of a college student.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dr. Cornell
...
...
Mrs. Hale
...
Lynne Cornell
Rikki Gagne ...
Katey Simmons (as Rikki Gange) (as Rikki Gagné)
...
Grey
...
...
Walter
...
...
Larry
Gerry Morton ...
Jefferson
Morgan Brayton ...
Hannah
Leanne Adachi ...
Dr. Sung
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Storyline

Because of a feature article on him in the Advocate, Albany based Donald Strachey has gained some notoriety as a gay private detective. His latest client, Paul Hale, a scared young man, provides Donald with a $5,000 retainer to find "someone", that person unspecified before Paul is scared off. Soon thereafter, Paul is found dead. The official cause of death is deemed suicide by the coroner's office, but Donald wants to do right by Paul by finding who killed him as the police unofficially believe he was murdered. Another person who believes Paul was murdered is his mother, Phyllis Hale. Donald learns that homophobic Mrs. Hale sent Paul to the Phoenix Foundation, run by Dr. Trevor Cornell and his wife Lynn Cornell and for which Paul was the poster child. The Foundation's raison d'etre is repairative therapy i.e. to help people turn from gay to straight. Donald believes Paul's death has something to do with the Foundation, whether it be a connection to one of the Cornells or one of the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Donald Strachey Mystery See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content, nudity, language and a violent image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

16 July 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donald Strachey: Systemschock  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,750 (USA) (4 August 2006)

Gross:

$3,665 (USA) (18 August 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

(opening sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Set in Albany, New York, USA, but filmed primarily in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. See more »

Goofs

When Kenny meets Timmy for the first time in Donald's office, he doesn't recognize him as Donald's partner though there's a (pretty big) picture of the couple above his desk. See more »

Connections

Followed by Ice Blues (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Steam
written by Peter Allen
performed by Peter Allen
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User Reviews

Reasonably Good Murder Mystery
16 September 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

A young gay man affiliated with a so-called "gay no more" program seeks help in finding someone, from gay PI Donald Strachey (well played by Chad Allen), in this second in a series of gay detective stories, from Director Ron Oliver. Before Strachey can pursue the investigation, the young man turns up dead.

My impression is that the filmmakers here want the audience to focus on the dubious nature of the "gay therapy" pushed by political conservatives. However, I chose to watch this film as I would any other murder mystery.

The killer was a person who was not high on my suspect list; so I enjoyed the surprise ending. However, Ron Oliver's apparent objective to spotlight the hideous agenda of social conservatives seemed to override the need for intricate plotting, necessary for a truly effective whodunit puzzle. Still, the mystery element was sufficiently credible, and I did spend quite a bit of time with it. The mystery's outcome has some clever irony.

The visuals have a noir, retro look and feel, especially in Strachey's office, with those window blinds, the table fan, and the light and shadows. The opening credits sequence features some great B&W schematics and a terrific jazz score. In the second half, light and shadows, together with eerie music, and the image of a hooded figure running down a dark corridor combine to create some excellent suspense.

Film direction is unobtrusive and simple, probably by design. I could have wished for fewer close-up shots. At times, the pace grinds almost to a halt in scenes with lengthy dialogue; however, this is not a problem if your attention is on the murder mystery.

To watch this film as a social commentary on those dreadful "gay no more" programs can be enlightening and informative. But I enjoyed the murder mystery element. "Shock To The System" wasn't quite as good as "Third Man Out", in my opinion. But it was as good or better than countless other whodunit films I have seen.


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