Darker Shades of Elise (2017) review

Seduced by a charming stranger, Elise embarks on a torrid affair only to realise, once it's too late, that breaking things off won't be so easy.

The bored housewife embarking on an affair has always been a staple of erotic thrillers from DTV classics such as Animal Instincts (1992) and Secret Games (1992) to more mainstream fare like Unfaithful (2002) – these sexually frustrated women, tired of being ignored by their workaholic husbands decide to go out and have some fun. Not merely being erotic films, the thriller element kicked in when the leading ladies found themselves out of their depth and their fooling around came back to bite them.

Taking inspiration from such predecessors, 2017’s British production, Darker Shades of Elise finds Becky Fletcher’s title character beginning a torrid affair with a photographer, Felix (Arron Blake), after she strongly suspects that her husband (Tommy Vilés) is also cheating. What begins as a kinky fling beginning with simple transgressions such as making love whilst Elise’s husband is in the next room, spirals out of control as Felix starts bringing strangers home to join them in bed. It’s these scenes that carry the most eroticism as we see Elise experiment under the watchful eye of her voyeuristic lover.

Not all good things last however and after attempting to break things off, Elise finds herself being stalked and threatened by a vengeful man who is completely obsessed with her. It may all sound cliche, but let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a good erotic thriller in a long time, let alone one from the UK of such high production values and nicely plotted eroticism – the movie also doesn’t hold back its punches and one particular scene of Felix punishing Elise for having left him is gruelling to watch and really showcases his villainous side.

None of it of course would be half as good if it weren’t for the central performance of Becky Fletcher who as Elise brings both an air of lust and innocence to her performance – this actress has got a bright future ahead of her and I’m not surprised that she will be appearing in all upcoming movies from Proportion Productions, the makers behind this title. The supporting actors (with the exception of Arron Blake) give mixed performances, some trip over their lines of dialogue whereas others don’t seem so confident behind the camera, the editing could definitely have been a bit tighter here as these small mistakes do let down the rest of the production.

Genre fans tuning in for the sex scenes can delight in the fact that Darker Shades of Elise does feature a fair number of them, complete with obligatory nudity, all tastefully filmed, unlike love scenes found in fellow erotic films that outstay their welcome. Ignore its title, this isn’t a clone of the successful Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, it is however a new entry in a genre which is at the point of extinction and any title that attempts to resuscitate the erotic thriller, is worth supporting. That or if you just want to see some hanky panky, you could do a lot worse than Darker Shades of Elise.

Discussion feed
  • From the reviewer; "there's a whole bunch of topless males throughout the film but only two brief instances of rear male nudity." Hope that helps.

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