Blackmail Image

Blackmail

By Alan Ng | August 4, 2021

Alexander Roman’s Blackmail tickles the senses by infusing the psychological thriller with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). So grab your headphones and get ready for the ride.

Veronika (Max Reeves) is the top grifter in a blackmail ring using a high-end Persian perfume shop as its front. The film opens with one of Veronika’s clients, Claudette (Emma Lieberman), opening up about her lover being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger threatening to expose their forbidden same-sex love affair. But, of course, Veronika was behind the ploy and easily convinced Claudette to pay off the blackmailer as she’ll pocket the cash. Veronika’s gift is her ability to make others trust her.

“…Veronika uses the perfume store to get her affluent customers to spill the beans about their love lives.”

The operation is simple. Madeleine (Susan Touchbourne) is the ringleader managing the day-to-day operation and the meticulous coordination of each con. Her minions then interact with the wealthy, gathering blackmailable intelligence. Veronika uses the perfume store to get her affluent customers to spill the beans about their love lives. Vincent (Alexander Roman) is a party planner who is given access to homes of the wealthy and their personal lives. He searches through personal belongings to put together the perfect scheme. Blackmail features a successive series of true confessions, which all culminate in a swanky party celebrating the wedding anniversary of an older power couple.

Combining the thriller genre with the nerve-stimulating practice of ASMR makes for an exciting experiment. The ASMR “gimmick” (for the lack of a better word) plays a significant role in the final product. While thrillers attempt to create tension and anxiety, this production uses calm, relaxation, and intrigue to put the audience on edge.

Blackmail (2019)

Directed and Written: Alexander Roman

Starring: Max Reeves, Alexander Roman, Susan Touchbourne, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Blackmail Image

"…using ASMR as part of the moviegoing experience can work."

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