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Inner Sanctum (1991)

I'm so confused.

I'd heard lots of mixed thing about this Fred Olen Ray erotic thriller, so I rented it and was flabbergasted.  Here was not the pain-by-numbers plot of Spirits or Hybrid; here was a convoluted, unpredictable tale full of plot twists from Hell!

Here's the basic premise:  Jenny and Bax have been having marital problems (largely stemming from Bax's ongoing shagging of work associate Anna), and Jenny decides to kill herself.  She takes a handful of sleeping pills, then falls down the stairs; but instead of dying, she's paralyzed from the waist down -- a paralysis her doctor says is psychosomatic.

If things were tense before, they're brutal now.  Finally, Bax hires a nurse, Lynn, to take care of Jenny.  However, Bax is a higher-up at the International All-Risk insurance company, and he knows that Lynn is under investigation by his own company regarding the mysterious death of a former patient (and that patient's husband).

What ensues is a web of intrigue between Jenny, Lynn, Bax, and private eye Neil Semple, each interacting with Jenny and with each other with maximum duplicity -- no one tells any two people the same story, and it seems that everything being said is a lie.  Does Bax want to kill his wife?  Does Lynn?  Is Bax working with Neil?  Or is Lynn?  Are Lynn and Bax working together, or at cross-purposes?  What is Bax hiding at work, and who killed insurance newbie Jeff to protect it?

I was watching this, watching the web grow more and more complicated, very impressed with the script.  Said I, after every unforeseen revelation (or deception), "Jeez, I can't wait till the end, when everything gets explained!"

And then it ended.

And nothing was explained.

I sat there.  Dropjawed.

This leaves me with one of the following three explanations:

1) Ray seriously overestimated the intelligence of his audience and assumed that we'd be able to figure it out.

2) Ray is an awful tease.

3) I read far too much into the movie (you can buy movie review, research papers, and essays online on our website -, and there wasn't an underlying structure to the intrigue; it was just a whole bunch of inexplicable scenes which never actually built up to anything.

Anyone who's seen it and can explain it to me, please do.

While you're at it, explain the following two things:

- How does Tanya Roberts (Lynn the nurse) look so good at age 37?  All the way through (especially during her copious, unrated sex scenes) I assumed she was in her mid-twenties -- late twenties, tops.

- How did Margaux Hemingway (Anna, and yes, she's the Hemingway that committed suicide in 1996) get cast as an office seductress?  Maybe someone finds her attractive; I just found her buck-toothed and whiny.  (Of course, that's all from the neck up -- from the neck down, while she didn't outshine Roberts, she certainly held her own in her own sex scenes.)

Oh yeah, and the big house which is the setting for most of the movie is the same one that Ray used in Spirits (1990).

Gender Male
Age 33
Country United States