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By Amy R. Handler | March 5, 2013

When a liver-extracting-ripper roams a university and litters the campus with female victims, the local police detective stalking him is precariously thrown off course by evidentiary misleads.

Newcomer Marc Allen’s hugely ambitious, massively cast Living in Sin is a 57-minute epic, who-dun-it-now-prove-it flick involving an escalating serial killer (Garret Ethan Whittington) and the not-so-intelligent detective (Christopher James) attempting to bring him to justice.

Off to a fairly weak start, the film reminds us way too much of a formulaic Criminal Minds episode, with the faceless ripper clumsily slitting victims’ throats, removing their bloody livers (kudos for great anatomical accuracy on those livers!), and then containing them. The filmmaker then sets up a series of overly-contrived Hitchcockian MacGuffins, so that the detective and his even dumber sidekick (Steve McClain) chase the wrong, gray-hooded man (Eric Jepson).

After what seems like centuries of scenes such as this, Allen’s saga then turns forensically gripping when the killer begins planting extraneous evidence at the crime scenes. This, of course, implicates a series of incorrect perpetrators, and creates both a monkey wrench of deception for the detective, and incredible suspense for us viewers.

Living in Sin’s great strength is its highly objective exploration into the mind of the killer, while it exposes black-humored errors in the way evidence is consistently misread by the so called “professionals.” This makes the movie both universally provocative and disturbing. It also raises very serious questions regarding whom we can and should trust, when things go gravely awry.

So while things could be technically improved in the early portions of the screenplay, Living in Sin is definitely recommended viewing for those intrigued by forensic pathology and criminal justice. There’s also no doubt whatsoever that we’ll be hearing much more of filmmaker Marc Allen in the future.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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