The In Crowd (2000)
By: Craig Villinger  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Village Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 102 Minutes
The Movie
Director: Mary Lambert
Starring: Susan Ward, Lori Heuring, Matthew Settle, Nathan Bexton, Ethan Erickson, Laurie Fortier, Kim Murphy, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Tess Harper, Jay R. Ferguson, A. J. Buckley
Screenplay: Mark Gibson, Philip Halprin
The Cliftmont Country Club is a swanky upper class beachside resort where spoilt little rich kids can spend their days lazing in the sun, playing a round of golf, sailing, swatting at tennis balls, or drinking themselves into a complete stupor, all at the expense of Mummy and Daddy. Into this world comes Adrien Williams (Lori Heuring), a head case from the local nut house who has been given a chance to re-enter society courtesy of her friendly shrink, who manages to land her a job at the posh club for the summer provided that she is a good girl and doesn't do things like drink, take drugs, date, or generally do anything that could be considered fun.

While going about her day-to-day business, Adrien catches the eye of Brittany Foster (Susan Ward), the resident "It Girl" at the club who is desired by all because of her ridiculously good looks and high rolling lifestyle. Brittany quickly takes Adrien under her wing and brings her into the upper crust of society, where wild drug fuelled parties and sexual promiscuity seem to be the order of the day. Adrien is immediately seduced by this new way of life and before we know it she is violating just about every rule the good Doc spelled out before her arrival at the club, all under the watchful eye of queen bitch Brittany, who always seems to be lurking in the shadows with a sinister look on her face, and who might just be the puppet master manipulating the strings of everyone around her. The question is, will Adrien become the latest addition to her toy collection?

As the story unfolds further we begin to discover the real motivation behind Brittany's befriending of Adrien, and as the members of the club start dying off in mysterious circumstances it becomes apparent that Adrien is not the only one who could do with some psychiatric rehabilitation. Does she want to be part of the "In Crowd" so much that she is prepared to kill for it, or is there something far more sinister at work? Dark secrets from the past are revealed by all and sundry and the revelations just keep on coming as we draw towards the inevitable climax.

Speaking from a strictly male point of view, The In Crowd has just about everything you could want from a movie, with bitchiness aplenty, bronzed bikini clad babes, simmering lesbian undertones, bare breasts, drinking, drug taking, partying, and a violent "catfight" finale. While on paper these are all ingredients for a great night's entertainment, the only problem with The In Crowd is that none of these elements are used to their fullest extent, and the film ultimately comes across as a fairly lightweight version of Wild Things, which was a far more effective exercise in high class sleaze. The real saving grace of this film however are its stars Susan Ward and Lori Heuring. Heuring treads the line between "nice girl" and "complete wacko" with style, and we are never quite sure which she is supposed to be, while Susan Ward plays her spoiled rich bitch role to perfection and looks fantastic in the process. The rest of the cast is pure eye candy, and manage to do a good job of distracting us from the paper thin plot and relatively uninteresting dialogue that could ruin the whole viewing experience for those who are paying close enough attention.

Director Mary Lambert (Pet Semetery) gives the film an extremely slick look and does a fairly decent job with what she has to work with. Perhaps realising that we could very easily lose interest in the proceedings, she cleverly arranges for Ward to show off her well stacked top shelf at strategically placed intervals to maintain our enthusiasm for the film, and while she doesn't exactly provide us with enough titillation to have a good pull over, young boys who have not seen this sort of thing before will be in wet dream heaven with all the exposed flesh and tight clothing on display. If the sleaze factor had been turned up a few notches this could have been a fantastic viewing experience, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to have the guts to go through with it and ends up looking like a made for television exploitation feature. Still, the film has a definite "guilty pleasure" feel to it, and is worth a look for those who are in the market for a cheap nights entertainment.
The In Crowd is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with 16x9 enhancement. As is to be expected of such a recent production, the transfer looks very impressive, with vibrant colours, solid black levels and a sharp, well defined image.
The 5.1 channel audio track is adequate without being too impressive, although in all fairness the film hardly features a spectacular array of sound effects to push your surround channels to their limits. There are no audio sync problems, however there were a couple of instances where the dialogue seemed a little soft and was hard to understand.
Extra Features
For a relatively low profile release this DVD delivers the goods in the extras department. The audio commentary track from stars Susan Ward and Lori Heuring makes for a refreshing change from the occasionally boring and jargon heavy directors commentaries that we are subjected to from time to time and is one of the more interesting commentary tracks that I have listened to of late. We are also treated to interviews with stars Susan Ward, Lori Heuring, Nathan Bexton and Matt Curtis, a photo gallery, 3 deleted scenes, the original theatrical trailer and an isolated music track in 5.1 channel sound.
The Verdict
The film itself is definitely worth the cost of an overnight rental. The DVD is well presented, with some interesting extras and decent specs, however this is probably one that is worth trying before buying.
Movie Score
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