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Devil in the Flesh (1998)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Sounds boring...until you learn that Rose McGowan is the titular devil!"
2 stars

Precisely what this world needs is more movies in which a teenage girl falls in love with a grown man before killing a whole bunch of innocent people in an effort to display her manic devotion.

If The Crush (Alicia Silverstone, young & sexy) or Poison Ivy (Drew Barrymore, sexy & young) are not enough to quench your thirst for youthful gals in muderously sexy situations, be sure to grab hold of the DVD release of Devil in the Flesh (aka Dearly Departed), a late-90s cable flick that differs from those other two movies in one noteworthy way: the girl's a brunette this time around.

Let's get the scant accolades out of the way early: Rose McGowan is the murderous teen here, and damn if she's not the epitome of "bad girl sexy". Add the fact that Rose gives a performance about 4 times better than this tiresome retread deserves and you're looking at an actress whose skill is generally overlooked in favor of her bust line. As a longtime fan of Ms. McGowan's I was pleased to see her doing some strong work in such a throwaway cable flick. One day Hollywood will find a good way to use Rose's assets, and I'm not just referring to her kewpie-doll face and her Bettie Page curves.

Stop me when you've heard this one before: a troubled teen is sent to live with her evil and overbearing grandmother after a mysterious fire kills her parents and destroys her home. Quicker than you can say Lolita, the "new girl in school" has made one friend, created several enemies, and fallen for one hunkalicious Enlgish teacher. Various cardboard characters unwittingly come between Debbie and Mr. Rinaldi, but they're promptly tossed down stairwells, beaten to death with canes or bopped in the head with whatever kitchen utensil happens to be handy.

Of course all this muderous rage is borne out of a teenage crush gone horribly awry. What's most unseemly about movies of this ilk (among many things) is that the audience is privy to some truly tragic information about the main character...yet we're supposed to cheer when the anti-heroine finally gets the snot kicked out of her. Odder still is the fact that Devil in the Flesh (and its brethren) seem more than willing to display coy peeks at young, nubile figures - while somehow maintaining a faux air of social morality. If we see these gals as nothing more than youthful sex objects (as they're obviously displayed), what makes us any better than the poor stiff onscreen who just got a ski pole lodged into his chest?

Bah, most likely I'm investing too much thought into a low-rent little cable flick designed to titillate briefly before being forgotten entirely. Sure, this one may be a little bit more sincere in its portrayal of bloodily unrequited young love than are The Crush and Poison Ivy... but surely that's not that big of a compliment.

Fans of Ms. McGowan should certainly want to check the flick out, if only to see the gal in her only starring role to date. As bad as the movie gets (which, to be fair, isn't THAT bad), Rose holds it together on at least a "watchability" level.

"Believability" is another story.

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originally posted: 04/30/04 10:04:16
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User Comments

7/14/09 cody a remake, but is decent erotic/thriller, need more nudity and story. rose is great. 3 stars
5/22/06 sabrina lorsque j'ai entendu la musique au début du film, j'ai beaucoup été émotionné et j'étais pr 5 stars
5/01/04 y2mckay Gets two stars, one for each breast (might have gotten three if she'd actually bared them) 2 stars
5/01/04 Horn G. Riboflavin Fair exploitation, but she's never naked. Like "Poison Ivy", you gotta wait for the sequel 2 stars
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  21-Aug-1998 (R)



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