Another cinematographer turned director, Jack Vincennes - who adopted his moniker from the character played by Kevin Spacey in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL - did a sterling job on several Michael Raven projects such as KA$H and PARADISE LOST. As a budding filmmaker, he got his big chance on a Raven-funded little number called HELL HOUSE for Sin City, the all time runner-up company in an industry dominated by VCA, Vivid and Wicked, if not necessarily in that order. His movies are competently made though a tad generic, lacking a recognizable personal style as of yet, his sophisticated camera work invariably their greatest virtue. Look and feel of today's fornication features seem more dictated by company image rather than the individual directors issuing them forth anyway. Boasting a more involving plot than usual, supplied by former adult actress Melissa Monet, AFTER MIDNIGHT borrows elements from mainstream blockbusters like Martin Scorsese's AFTER HOURS and David Fincher's THE GAME, providing an interesting frame work for half a dozen mostly enthusiastic sex scenes.
Businessman Scott (Kurt Lockwood, an appealing Everyman type who bears some facial resemblance to Golden Age luminary Richard Pacheco) drops into a bar late one night after work. He's immediately accosted by sexy stranger Terri (adorable Aurora Snow, AVN's 2003 Female Performer of the Year) who, to quote Philip Marlowe, tries to sit on his lap while standing up ! Retreating to her apartment, they make the beast with two backs, Snow - a former Gonzo goddess, so fans know what that means (i.e. this chick's an animal !) - all but chewing him up and spitting him out. Taking a much-needed post sex shower, Scott emerges from the bathroom to find Terri gone, along with his wallet, cell phone and car keys. Frantically, he tries to get hold of a phone, stopping at an adult store run by punky princess Emily Davinci who talks him through a scorching session with lusty Latina Gina Ryder, looking considerably harder than she did in Nick Orleans' glamorous SEARCH FOR THE SNOW LEOPARD. Trying in vain to reach his buddy Brad, he spots Terri and follows her into a dilapidated building, providing the movie's most disposable encounter, a girl/girl in the elevator between Angel Cassidy and Nikki Loren. A good-natured but seemingly air-headed blonde bulb named Kandi (excellently portrayed by gorgeous Jewel Valmont a/k/a "Ava Vincent", the alluring Eurydice character from Raven's Orpheus update UNDERWORLD) tries and fails to help him along, her severely limited attention span making her mind trail off into unpredictable directions. All the while, a pair of mysterious heavies are watching his every move from a car, spouting cryptic comments about Scott being unwittingly forced to pay off someone else's debts. But whose, why and what do these consist of exactly ? All becomes clear when Scott is lured towards yet another location with Terri frantically servicing...ah, but that would be telling !
The greatest surprise here is how well the story hangs together, even if the twist ending is definitely of the "only in porno" variety. Main characters are reasonably well drawn by current standards with decent acting by most involved. Usually cast as standby stud meat, Lockwood makes a likable anti-hero, approaching his career performance to date in Paul Thomas' terrific TO DIE FOR. Valmont shines in the flick's trickiest part, the pretend dumb blonde who has a change of heart about making Scott pay, figuring prominently in the bittersweet coda. She also scores the hottest action with Chris Cannon, who would evolve into quite an acceptable thespian by the time he starred in Brad Armstrong's big budget MANHUNTERS. Their sizzling screen chemistry contrasts nicely with the still passionate but somehow very "professional" poking provided by their carnal colleagues.
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