Sanatorium

DVD by Zero Tolerance

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The Little Porn that Couldn't

Sanatorium suffers from a confusing plot, bad acting, and boring sex. I would not recommend this movie to anyone and I will not be watching it again.
Published:
Pros:
Cinematography
Cons:
Bad acting, confusing plot, boring sex
Rating by reviewer:
1
extremely useful review


Sanatorium wants to be a good porn movie with a plot. It really does. Unfortunately, it fails on every level. The premise is this: Porn star Tabitha Stevens (who also produces) recounts a tale of her own trials and tribulations being a porn star, her downward spiral into insanity and her vision quest that redeems her and makes her a "sexual warrior," to a hypocritical anti-porn senator she's about to fuck (and she does indeed fuck him).

There are several sex scenes and much symbolism in this movie. But it all boils down to good versus evil via the porn industry. You've got your aforementioned hypocritical senator, a sleazy and meticulous lawyer (in an unnecessary scene), an evil producer, an imprisoned young porn starlet, Tabitha Stevens' best friend Alex, an assortment of porn actors, and Tabitha herself. There's even a cameo by porn legend Ron Jeremy. What there isn't is a plot that makes sense or is believable, great sex, and decent acting. It's just a hot mess.

I think the biggest problem with the movie is the fact that there's not one character I feel for, not even Tabitha. This is due to the lack of good acting. I care not one whit for what Tabitha is going or has gone through. The actress does not invoke sympathy or empathy in me, which I feel is integral to the film.

The story is told in a non-linear fashion, much like how Pulp Fiction was done. But what separates the two--apart from the obvious fact that one is a porn and the other is a mainstream movie--is that Pulp Fiction was well-acted and this movie is not. I find that's the problem with porn movies that try to incorporate plot--there needs to be good acting to get people absorbed in the plot and have feelings for the characters (whether those feelings are good or bad), and I've yet to see a porn actor that can truly act.

Through flashbacks, we see Tabitha trying to maintain her sanity while balking at the depths to which the evil porn producer Marcellus (interestingly, Marcellus was the name of Ving Rhames' character in Pulp Fiction) and the porn industry as a whole want her to go to. See, he is holding a porn starlet friend of hers hostage and threatens to kill her if Tabitha does not perform as he asks. We know nothing of this starlet and, again, I find myself not caring whether she lives or dies.

One of the main points the hypocritical senator makes is that porn leads to darker things. And as we watch Tabitha confronted by darker demands from the evil porn producer, this inadvertently lends credence to what the senator said. From what I understand while listening to the director's commentary is that this more depraved and twisted porn industry is directly related to the anti-porn crusade. Um, yeah, I'm not buying it.

I have to admit it's really difficult to write a review about a movie that is confusing and has no redeeming qualities. Well, except for the cinematography; that was nice. But if good cinematography is all that a porn movie has going for it, something went terribly wrong somewhere.

The sex in the movie is pretty darn boring.

There were only two small elements to the movie that I liked. One was Ron Jeremy's cameo. For the brief amount of time he's on screen (5 minutes or so?) he does more acting than the other actors who are featured predominantly. They say that most good acting is in the eyes, and Ron's eyes conveyed the concern and worry he felt for Tabitha during a risque BDSM scene he was directing.

The other element I liked is the woefully underused subplot of Tabitha's best friend and rock of Gibraltar, Alex. The actor managed to make me feel his worry for his friend but his role is too small.

And what of her vision quest? It's cliched and silly.

I used to think porn movies needed to have a plot. This movie has me rethinking my stance. I know, this review is very negative and I almost feel bad writing this, especially after reading the porn club discussion and seeing what a long labor of love this movie was for Tabitha and Gary Orona. But one can't help not liking a movie.

There is more to the movie than what I have written about in this review. The thing is, I don't even know where to start in dissecting or even describing them, and this would turn into an extremely long review. As it stands, this was a long-winded way of saying I disliked this movie, but I hope that I was able to get across exactly why I did.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • Bunnycups
    Bunnycups  
    Great review title! It's cute and funny.
    This porn just sounds awful. Crazy how some people love it and others hate it.
  • tim1724
    tim1724  
    Pretty much exactly the same way my girlfriend and I felt when we watched it. The sex scenes were really boring, and the plot was too random to be interesting.
  • Kayla
    Kayla  
    Great review. I was unfortunately pretty unimpressed by the movie too.
  • Viktor Vysheslav Malkin
    Viktor Vysheslav Malkin  
    Awesome review Kristi!
  • Rockin'
    Rockin'  
    I liked your review a lot. It made me chuckle a few times while reading it, mostly because I agreed with what you would say so bluntly. "But if good cinematography is all that a porn movie has going for it, something went terribly wrong somewhere." YES.
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