Second to Die (2001) from Tuna

Second to Die is a straight to vid thriller starring Erika Eleniak, who is discovered dead in the opening scenes. Co-star Kimberly Rowe, as Eleniak's surviving sister, is really more of a plot device than a character, and serves as the audience point of view and the designated naked person.


Rowe gets out of the pool in wet panties with bush clearly visible through them, as well as buns, and has ok see-through in her colored t-shirt, then shows breasts and buns in a sex/after sex scene.
Rowe is swimming at night in the rain as her artist boyfriend paints her. She is paged, and finds that her sister is dead. She rushes home and starts reading her dead sister's diary. Along the way, we learn that Rowe works in a cocktail lounge, and gets no respect from her alcoholic mother, despite the fact that she cares for her. She has a poor self-image, having grown up in the shadow of her older sister, who has married into money and lives in a big house.

But things were not all candy and roses with the dead sister, either. She was forced to take care of her husbands severely retarded and wheel-chair bound daughter from a previous marriage. Her husband is distant, cold, gone a lot, and has made her sign a pre-nuptial. She had an affair with a friend of her husband, and the two of them decided to off the husband and collect $2M in insurance. That made the police suspicious, until they discovered that the policy had a "second to die" clause, which meant that the beneficiary only collected after the second one of them died. She therefore thinks someone is going to kill her.
I will stop there with the plot, as those of you less demanding of a thriller than I am may want to rent this.  I didn't believe the Rowe character, as a young woman with great priorities and a sense of responsibility, who knew her sister was shallow and self-serving, and yet felt inferior to her. Eleniak's performance would have seemed poor even by hard core standards. Paul Winfield as a police detective, as sort of a Colombo-like character, delivered the most entertaining performance.  

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The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this is barely a C. It has the genre essentials, including red herrings and plot twists, excitement and some suspense, and a supposedly surprise ending (which I guessed), but is nothing special.

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