POISON - DVD review


Kari Wuhrer started her show business career as part of MTV's "Remote Control." She moved on to bigger and better things with the Ice Cube vehicle, "Anaconda," "The Crossing Guard" and the television show "Sliders." Since those days in the mid-Nineties, she has now become a staple of B-Movie Erotic Thrillers and other Cinemax bound films. Ms. Wuhrer, an attractive and well-build woman is the selling point of her films and this is very indicative of the DVD packaging, where the film was renamed from "Thy Neighbor's Wife" to appear as "Kari Wuhrer Poison" on the DVD spine.

Director James Wnoroski, who credits himself as Jay Andrews, has also made a name for himself in the world of B-Movies. He has been responsible for "Stealth Fighter," "Extreme Limits," "Body Chemistry 4," "The Bare Wench Project" and countless others. With "Poison," he uses his experience making both low-budget thrillers and soft-core pornography to blend a decent erotic thriller that has enough sexuality and enough suspense to make the film mildly entertaining and slightly better than what you would usually expect to see on Cinemax. This is not to say that "Poison" is a good or great movie, but it is better than average for the genre.

In "Poison," Kari Wuhrer finds herself as the main character and general bad girl. Her character, Anna Stewart, starts out as your typical great wife. She'll do literally anything for her husband, including sleeping with his clients to sweeten his business dealings. Her husband has worked hard for a promotion that is instead given to the attractive Nicole Garrett (Barbara Crampton). Because of this, her husband commits suicide and Kari is left along and vengeful.

The first person that Anna strikes out against is the president that she believes ruined her husband's career. After the company president is taken care of, she takes steps to murder the Garrett family maid (in a wonderfully nude shower scene) and take over the job. Working for the Garrett's, Anna plots a devious and evil plan to slowly destroy Nicole Garrett's family life and existence. This involves the usual erotic thriller subplots of sleeping with the husband, looking as sexy as possible and seducing the college aged son. What ensues is mostly predictable, but there are a few twists here and there.

As I have said, this is not a great film. Nor, can it be considered a good film, unless you compare it to other genre pieces. As far as your usual late night soft-core thrillers go, I was entertained by not only the attractive and unclothed women, but Anna's twisted revenge scheme offers a villainess that is likable enough that you hope she succeeds in her plot and this alone keeps you focused on the film until the final moments. The predictability of the picture outlines most of what is going to happen as Anna pretends to be the Garrett's maid, but the film has a few twists and enough nudity to keep you watching it.

Artisan is known for producing good-looking transfers. However, they bounce back and forth between full frame and wide screen transfers. "Poison" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is very sharp and clean. The films rich color palette is shown with no chroma noise and perfect contrast. Flesh tones, which are certainly plentiful are displayed perfectly. Black levels are good. The source materials used for "Poison" appear to have been in great shape. Every once in a while some dirt can be scene, but this is rare. Film grain is also kept at a minimum.

The rear of the DVD packaging carried with it a hint of confusion. Right on the back, near the bottom is a big white DTS logo. Initially, this would lead one to believe that the DVD carried a DTS audio track. However, this appears to have been a logo carried over with the credit logos. There is no DTS track found on the DVD. Instead, the film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio for newer home theater systems and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround for older stereo and Pro Logic setups. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was exceptionally good for a film of this genre. The rear surrounds were used throughout the film for not only ambient effects and music, but it had a good overall presence. Bass was good, and stereo imaging was excellent.

A few supplements accompany "Poison." The only real significant of these is an audio commentary featuring director Jay Andrews, star Jeff Trachta and director of photography Andrea Rossotto. Jay Andrews is a very entertaining individual and is not afraid of poking fun at his picture and the genre of the picture. Aside from making humorous comments, discussing breasts and mocking each other, the three offer some nice pieces of information on the making of the film and those involved. Besides the commentary, there is a full frame trailer for "Poison" and four other films released by Artisan ("Tell Me No Lies," "Seamless," "Lured Innocence" and "Dark Harbor"). A handful of photos are included in a near worthless "Photo Gallery" and cast and crew information. The commentary is nice to have, though the rest of the supplements do not offer much.

If you are looking for an entertaining little erotic thriller with a nice selection of large breasts, then "Poison" is probably going to satisfy you. The dead maid in the shower scene is top notch. Kari Wuhrer is attractive, as is the other actresses and body doubles who strip down to their birthday suits. The story is predictable, but twisted and dark enough to make for an interesting enough thriller. It will not hold up against most mainstream thrillers, but it is better than your typical up all night thrillers. If you are into Kari Wuhrer, this nicely done DVD is just calling your name. It will appeal to more than her fans, but they are the ones who will benefit most from its purchase.


Film Value