Exploited gets off to a start that certainly lives up to its title as webcam performer Caleb (Colin Bates, Naked Normandy, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Love) is beaten to death in mid-performance.
Move forward a few months to the start of a new school year and Brian (Jordan Ver Hoeve, 666: Teen Warlock) is moving into his dorm room and starting college life. After walking in on his roommate Jeremy (Andrew Matthew Welch, Ma, Purity Falls) and his girlfriend Lexi (Makenzie Vega, The Good Wife, Fender Bender) he starts to get settled in. He doesn’t notice a flash drive identical to the one the school gave him sitting on the desk. He’s in for a nasty shock as it contains videos of the online sexual activity of the room’s previous occupant. And, in the last video, being murdered.
Yes, he’s gotten Caleb’s old room and somehow this drive, with footage of all his sessions, has managed to sit there all this time just waiting to be found. And no, Brian doesn’t go to the police with it, he decides to play detective.
“Our villain is living out their own twisted version of ‘Rear Window’, in this stressful world of today’s millennials—who are also exploring their sexuality. A script for a sequel has already been written.”co-writer/producer Anthony Del Negro
Working from a script by Carl Moellenberg and Anthony Del Negro (The Girl in the Window, Mile High Escorts) director Jon Abrahams (Clover, All at Once) is not subtle at all when it comes to tossing various fetish footage at the viewer. A fair amount of that is male/male so if that kind of thing and/or male nudity bothers you you may want to give Exploited a miss.
If you can deal with that, and a fair amount of LGBTQ themes in general then you can follow Exploited as it heads down a rabbit hole of voyeurism, hacking, blackmail and murder. The result falls somewhere between an erotic thriller and a giallo right down the leather-gloved, leather-clad actually, killer. And on that level, it’s actually a solid thriller with a lot going for it even if it’s not the things you would expect.
Apart from the leads, Exploited has some interesting characters including the dorm’s RA, Chloe (Sierra McCormick, VFW, The Vast of Night), Brian’s brother, or possibly half brother the script leaves a few questions there, Jacob (Will Peltz, Unfriended, The Collection), campus tech support geek Tommy (Spencer List, The Thinning: New World Order, Hard Sell) and hot physics professor Dr. Walker (Leah Pipes, Sorority Row, The Devil’s Hand). It’s a nice collection of supporting players ad red herrings.
The result is a twisty thriller that constantly has you guessing who is on the level and who is playing some kind of game or another before everything hits the fan in the last act. And then you really need to be paying attention as revelations along with one laugh-out-loud switch up and one of the film’s few gore effects, start getting tossed at the viewer.
By the end, Exploited goes into territory most mainstream films wouldn’t dare to go into. I was surprised to see it go there, but I’m glad it did. Toss in a last-minute revelation and you have a film that really deserves a lot more attention than it’s likely to get. An engaging thriller with a lot going on in its subtext Exploited is, as I’ve said, not going to be for everybody. But if you don’t find the material offensive it’s more than worth checking out.
Exploited is available on VOD and Digital platforms, from Gravitas Ventures.