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September 25, 2014

Movie Review: Stress Position (2013)

Attacked by mop handles!
Directed by A. J. Bond

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Here’s the premise: Director A.J. Bond in a conversation with actor David Amito tells Amito that he wouldn’t be able to deal with the psychological stress as practiced in such places as Guantanamo Bay. Amito says that he could, and so Bond offers him a wager: Spend a week in a special detention facility with a special cash reward if he makes its out with his sanity intact. Bond, if nothing else, is especially enthusiastic about the project. He builds a sterile white-on-white torture chamber dominated by a modern art sculpture. With the aid of various aides-de-camps, Bond tortures Amito, records it all on video and has conferences with other interested parties on how to proceed.

Bond’s true intentions are revealed on the third day of torture, and should come as no surprise to the viewer. The problem? None of the psychological torment inflicted on the male lead leads to anything significant. In the film Martyrs (2008), the torture of young women was revealed as a means for discovering life after death. In Stress Position, the torture of Amito is hazy and ill-defined. At one point he is strapped to a playground whirligig until he reveals a long repressed secret. When Amito finally reveals the “secret,” it is something totally inconsequential.

For its micro-budget, Stress Position does look great. Set entirely on a minimalistic set, Amito’s tormentors wear faceless masks and white paper jumpsuits. The paltry funds the film had at its disposal is everywhere evident when Bond trundles up to an upstairs loft on a cheap aluminum ladder on load from Sears and Roebuck.

Stress Position tries to find something meaningful and cogent to say, but just muffs it. The endurance test that Amito is put through has no defined objective or goal. The filmmakers perhaps thought by not having any defined goals would add to the audience’s disorientation, but it just … doesn’t get there. The tables are turned towards the end, but by then everyone will cease caring. 

Stress Position does have a core, niche audience of those who desire Soft-core Gay Torture Porn. If this doesn’t fit your particular demographic, you’d best pass on this. The DVD includes deleted scenes and snarky director commentary. 

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