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Panic Fest 2014: ’24 Exposures’ puts the Awkward into Sexy Thriller

by Trey Hock on February 1, 2014

in Print Reviews,Reviews

There is a growing trend that, if I am honest, confuses the hell out of me. The trend centers on the creation of films that have the look and feel of low budget, network created, adult films from the late 1980s and 90s. Programs like Cinemax After Dark and USA Up All Night, which did nothing more than provide preteen boys with brief glimpses of boobies, now receive sincere cinematic love letters from current filmmakers.

24 Exposures from writer and director Joe Swanberg looks and feels like one of the contrived sex-driven thrillers from the 90s. It is replete with terrible acting, unexpected pants-on “sex” scenes, and a mystery that is so uninteresting that I challenge you to even remember it’s still there by the end of the film.

Billy (Adam Wingard), a photographer who focuses on dark fetishes, and girlfriend, Alex (Caroline White), are working on a new series of photos of murdered women.

The two of them, along with models Callie (Sophia Takal) and Amy (Caitlin Stainken) create macabre images, while down-on-his-luck detective Michael Bamfeaux (Simon Barrett) searches for a real killer who has the same approach to murder that Billy has to art.

The whole film is ludicrous, from the initial premise to the way every scene is composed to the fact that every single character seems to be between the ages of 23 and 27. Nothing is believable. Nothing makes sense.

It’s hard to imagine that the filmmakers would want to purposefully make a film this bad just so they could stay true to their terrible late night inspiration. Whether it’s due to specific intent or just by accident, Swanberg has made a film that Cinemax would have been proud to program after 11 p.m. in 1998.

My favorite example of the terrible filmmaking in 24 Exposures is a hard cut from a pants-on threesome straight to a pan of sizzling bacon. I’ll give it this much credit. I did laugh out loud at this moment.

I’m not sure why they would ever want to make 24 Exposures, but if my description sounds mildly entertaining then you may want to check it out. Make sure you’ve got likeminded friends around, so you can all laugh together.

To make this film more fun, I give you 24 Exposures, the Drinking Game.

1. Take a drink every time an onscreen character is drinking or using drugs.

2. Everytime Adam Wingard’s character Billy says, “You know?” take a drink.

3. When you see breasts, take a drink for every breast on screen.

4. Whenever Simon Barrett’s character Detective Bamfeaux is sad, lonely, or suicidal, drink until he is off screen.

Warning – you will be very drunk when the credits roll.

In addition to contributing to Scene-Stealers, Trey makes short films and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. Follow him here:

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