“Angel Blade” is a sinister exercise in disturbing realism set amidst the seedy sexual underbelly of Las Vegas. David Heavener takes the lead in nearly all of his films, but there is something that sets his role in this film apart from the countless others. The look of torment and the slow growing insanity that engulfs his mind is written all over Heavener’s face in a noteworthy performance which is his best ever. His dark and troubled expression runs so much deeper than a simple three day growth and an alcohol dependency. It is tattooed on to his soul and that kind of acting is hard to pull off especially while concentrating on writing, producing and directing all at the same time.
Detective Bradley Cooper (David Heavener) is a victim of police politics and found himself suspended from the force for doing actual police work. His suspension was for three months and it has now been six months and he has no intention of returning to his old job until he discovers a connection between the prostitute victims of the ‘Angel Killer’. They were all pregnant. This revelation probes him into re-joining the force and hunting down a killer who is plaguing his mind.
The first conceivable lead in the case is that the victims had a connection to Dr. Martin Gites (Marc Singer) and were all wearing angel underwear. This leads Cooper to a lingerie store where he questions Frida (Margot Kidder) about whether she carries the underwear. Frida claims that one man wanted to buy the underwear in large quantities so she referred the client to a stunning lingerie model Samantha Goodman (Amanda Righetti) who sold him the product. Cooper begins to enter the underground sex world in Las Vegas as he becomes sexually involved with Samantha to the point of self-deviation until normal and eccentric become conterminous with one another. A violent flow of twists and turns all leading to an unsettling surprise ending.
This film is new territory for known action star Heavener, as he has created a world where the line between the good guys and the bad guys is not so obvious. Police work is not even about policing, instead a simple game of politics which it is in real life. Is the killer the main target or are the murdered women simple victims of their world? There is plenty of wickedly graphic sex in the film which helps to build the sordid atmosphere, particularly a scene involving knife sex.
The concept of a murderer who is offing pregnant prostitutes cunningly combines innocence and repulsion to form a confluence of the two opposites, reflecting the good and evil in our human nature. Everyone has both inside of them, but when there is an imbalance that is when one rules the other. The lack of identity in the veiled world of sex workers makes it a scary setting for a crazed killer on the loose.
In a world of bondage and sexual violence, where is the line drawn between harmless pain and brutal murder? How do you find a twisted killer amongst a type of ethos that they can easily blend in with? These are among the many elements in this film which make it stand out above other erotic thrillers.
Impressive performances from both David Heavener and Amanda Righetti (better known as Hailey Nichol from “The O.C.”) in her film debut.