|Released||Feb 11th, 2013|
|Running Time||117 Min.|
|Directors||Eddie Powell, Jacky St. James|
|DVD Extras||Behind the Scenes, Bonus Scenes, Still Gallery(ies), Trailer(s)|
|Cast||Riley Reid, Penny Pax, Richie Calhoun, Van Wylde|
|Non-Sex Roles||Lilian (I), Jacky St. James|
|Critical Rating||AAAA 1/2|
In the same way that the New Sensations Couples series added more emotionally complex situations than the lighter fare in the company’s Romance line, its Erotic Stories series goes even deeper, using hues significantly darker than those infamous Fifty Shades. The first one out of the gate has winning pairs behind and in front of the camera, with Eddie Powell and Jacky St. James (the team behind the critically acclaimed Torn) directing Penny Pax as the titular character and Richie Calhoun as Mr. Fredricks, the man demanding the titular submission.
At the start of this sensual exploration of power exchange, Emma is a college student whose sister Nadia (Riley Reid) is preparing for her wedding to Ray (Van Wylde). Though Nadia’s vanilla in her tastes, she’s still wild in the sack, as we see in the first scene. Pax narrates in the voiceover, describing how she first meets Mr. Fredricks, a wealthy, eccentric businessman who only hires women. He dangles the promise of a mysterious opportunity in front of her, but she must follow his instructions to the letter before he’ll reveal what it is. By the time, months later, that he sets a date for them to negotiate, she’s feverishly curious—and fiercely turned on. Turns out he’s offering her a detailed contract for a consensual master-slave relationship … and she surprises herself by agreeing to enter into the arrangement.
The focus here, unlike much BDSM erotica, is not on the accouterments of the bondage play but on the perils of navigating the emotional currents of power, control, dominance, obedience and, ultimately, mutual trust. But as Emma discovers, the road to true submission turns out to be just as rocky as the road to true love.
Three of the four sex scenes feature Pax and Calhoun, but each shows a distinct stage of their sexual journey. Their first time together is a seduction—Emma’s awakening to the delights of temporarily giving up control. In the second, she faces her fears of anal sex, yielding without hesitation, as Mr. Fredricks assured her she would do. And the final scene ratchets up the intensity as Emma gives herself completely to a session that includes blindfolds, candle wax and cuffs, all captured with beautiful lighting and graceful camerawork. It’s a finely crafted piece of moviemaking that more than lives up to the series name.