While I watch at least part of everything that comes out, I have not written a review in ages. But I've been compelled to write about this one. Anthony Spinelli has spent not one dime more on this feature than most adult producers do on their features, and by the looks of the sets, perhaps has spent less. So why am I compelled? Why is this the best shot-on-video feature I've seen this year? Here are some reasons:
(1) The Story - Although secondary to the sex, this part should be explained first. Shanna McCullough's life seems driven by angst, fear and bad dreams. But mostly, she is lonely. Although she seems to be able to will lovers into her life, she's most turned on by a crank caller who makes love to her over the phone. Her fantasies, leading up to the eventual meeting with the caller (John Leslie), make up the moody sensuous plot.
(2) The Eroticism - Shanna McCullough is hot and sexy, vulnerable and seductive. When she talks on the phone to the crank caller the first time, it's the most erotic scene in the whole feature. Meanwhile, her lesbian fantasy sequence with Tracey Adams would give a dead dog a boner.
Keisha plus Mike Homer equals fireworks; that is until the roof blows off when McCullough and Leslie finally get it on. Better video sex I cannot remember viewing.
(3) The Acting - Shanna McCullough is the best in the business. So is John Leslie. The supporting players can at least out act the cast of Days of Our Lives.
(4) The Directing - The moral of the story here is when you don't have a lot of money to produce, be very creative. Spinelli shoots the narrative sequences in a series of short segments, followed by black-outs. This style was used by independent director Jim Jarmusch for Stranger Than Paradise and here, it really works well. The sex scenes come across as realistic (less close-ups, more kissing) and the camera angles are varied enough to make it flow.
(5) Everything Else - It all clicks. Anthony Spinelli is among an elite group of a very few adult filmmakers who have successfully made the necessary move from film to video. His little morality plays are usually terrific viewing, and heads and tails above most of the videos being shot these days.
We often complain about the cheap stuff flooding the market - mostly interchangeable with only pretty box covers to differentiate. Hands Off deserves your special attention. And at least watch it with that special someone ... I know where you'll end up.