Directed by Jon Knautz (The Shrine, GirlHouse), Goddess of Love stars Alexis Kendra (Hatchet 2) as Venus and Woody Naismith (Newcastle) as Brian. Brian is a recently widowed guy who meets Venus in a strip-club. She strips for him and they strike up a relationship. It doesn’t take long for Venus to fall for Brian and while it appears he is a backing off a little, she becomes more and more obsessed with him, and finds herself experiencing a deep jealousy when Brian spends time with his friend, Christine (Elizabeth Sandy). We witness the breakdown in communication between Venus and Brian as the mental state of Venus is called into question and we see her taking drugs, drinking heavily and having apparent hallucinations.
It’s a dark tale of madness, and a mixed-up woman’s descent into it. Think Fatal Attraction with a cheap make-up job. The performances are corny for the most-part, but luckily Kendra is the strongest element in the film. She does a decent job of playing a woman falling off the deep end. The remainder of the cast seem awkward and amateur, and Naismith’s performance seems lazy and uncomfortable throughout the film. I know the character he is playing is widowed and supposedly a little messed up, but that can’t be an excuse for a drab job like this.
I wasn’t expecting anything special here, I have to say, so I wasn’t particularly disappointed by what I watched. There were some moments here, when Venus shows her truly dark-side, that are enjoyable, but I feel like a trick was missed. Knautz could have gone full-on with the descent into madness and the eventual insanity-burst of Venus as her mind dissolves before our eyes. It all feels a little too tame for what the story seems to want to say. There were so many missed and ignored opportunities and it was a bit frustrating to see an obviously capable lead actress misused in this manner.
I am a fan of films in which we see madness take over a person and their life disintegrates because of it. Think of classics like Falling Down which features, in my view, Michael Douglas’s greatest performance. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect a small-budget indie thriller to be on the level of that movie, but I think it could have done a much better job at being what it advertised itself to be.
I wouldn’t particularly recommend Goddess of Love, but I also wouldn’t warn you away from it either. I’ve seen worse, but there are too many gaping flaws for me to urge anyone to give it a shot.
2.25 out of 5