Home Video Hell is where filmic outcasts—straight-to-video, straight-to-VOD, or barely released—spend eternity.

The condemned: Bound (2015)

The plot: Real estate executive Michelle (Charisma Carpenter) is undergoing a bit of a personal crisis. Her boyfriend doesn’t turn her on anymore, she’s insecure about her ability to perform at work, and her daughter has grown into a sexually active teenager who likes to sneak sips out of her mom’s wine glass. An instant, intense connection with dominant younger man Ryan (Bryce Draper) appears to be what Michelle needs, and she starts ditching her work and family life in favor of sexy time with the mumbly stranger. But then Ryan’s BDSM shtick turns out to be merely the surface manifestation of a deeper, way more fucked-up psychopathic personality. So, with the encouragement of her new kinky friends, Michelle turns the tables on Ryan. This guy is there at one point:

‘Sup.

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Those are the titillating parts of the story. As for the rest of it, so much of this film takes place in the boardroom that only a real-estate fetishist (That’s a thing, right?) could find Bound truly exciting.

Over-the-top box copy: Most of the copy about Bound consists of the same two lines, but the extended iTunes description purrs, “Taken by his confidence and piercing, dangerous eyes, she submits when he leads her to a BDSM club and introduces her to a world of whips, chains, and domination.” Oooh, an Oxford comma. Could this be a movie with both brains and bondage? (Short answer: No.)

The descent: Bound was produced by shameless ripoff artists The Asylum, which curiously bypassed its usual strategy of naming its films something sort-of-but-not-quite like the films it’s trying to exploit (for example, Paranormal Entity, Battle Of Los Angeles) for this release. And although writer-director Jared Cohn tells The Telegraph that “this is a very distinctive and pointedly modern version of the traditional dominant/submissive stereotype,” it’s also very obviously an attempt to flog a little bit more cash out of the current BDSM trend. So it’s a Fifty Shades Of Grey ripoff in spirit, if not in execution.

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The theoretically heavenly talent: Besides light bondage enthusiasts trying to pass the time until Fifty Shades Of Grey hits theaters, most of the people who see this film will be fans of star Charisma Carpenter, best known for her role on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series Angel. It’s a well-known fact that there is a dearth of non-witch roles for actresses over 40 in Hollywood, but that doesn’t make it any less sad to see 44-year-old Carpenter doing topless scenes in an Asylum production. But she gets top billing, and probably got paid more than anyone else for this movie, so that’s… something.

Besides Carpenter, the big name here is Daniel Baldwin as Carpenter’s father. Baldwin has also fallen quite far since his days on Homicide: Life On The Street, and we like to think about him and Carpenter going out to lunch together, complaining about the amateurs they have to work with and reminding each other that the entertainment industry is not for the weak. It’s comforting.

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Speaking of amateurs, let’s talk about Bryce Draper as chiseled boy-toy Ryan. Over the course of this film, all we learn about Ryan is that he smokes indoors a lot, has an extensive selection of sex toys in the creepy serial-killer basement where he lives, and is a total psychopath. This is Draper’s feature debut, and his only previous TV credit is a two-episode arc on Tyler Perry’s OWN series The Haves And The Have Nots. Like his name-brand counterpart Jamie Dornan, Draper seems to have been chosen for his looks, and like Dornan, he lets his vacant—sorry, piercing—stare do most of his acting for him:

It’s worth noting here that the actual practice of BDSM places great emphasis on negotiation and consent, and the behaviors Ryan exhibits in the film—pressuring Michelle into engaging in activities she isn’t comfortable with, telling her he’s her “master” less than 24 hours after meeting her—are major red flags. This does not go unacknowledged, with one character telling Michelle that Ryan “give[s] people like us a bad name. These are loving, creative, smart people here, and Ryan is a predator.” But what’s going to stick with viewers whose understanding of kink comes exclusively from this kind of material, the lady in the corset dispensing level-headed advice or the hot guy talking dirty with his shirt off?

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Yeah.

Also, it’s generally considered bad form to dip your flogger in tempera paint, as Michelle appears to have done here:

The execution: While Bound fits almost no one’s definition of a porn movie (fundamentalist Mormons and the aforementioned real-estate fetishists excluded), it does appear to have been filmed in the same Southern California McMansions as more prurient variations on the same theme. The restaurant where Michelle takes her daughter out for dinner looks like a hybrid of a hookah bar and a warehouse club, and the set decoration appears to have been sourced from the clearance section at Pier 1 Imports (How many gems and pillar candles does one person need?) and a sex shop (most likely The Stockroom, the fetish outlet to the stars featured on the first season of American Horror Story).

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The true depths of Bound’s low-budget depravity are revealed in the scene where Michelle comes to visit Ryan as he lounges poolside at a “photo shoot.” Everything about this scene, from the strategic clusters of extras to the fact that a waitress comes by with two shots of the oddly specific Johnnie Walker Blue ordered from the bar at what is clearly a private residence, screams, “We couldn’t afford to shoot at a hotel, so the producer’s backyard will have to do.” Maybe they were just looking for an excuse to invite Terrell Owens over:

However, After Effects filters, unlike locations, are free. Bound compensates for its lack of on-screen production value with camera tricks and post-production embellishments, like an obsession with Dutch angles (Her life is off balance, get it?), some arty jump cuts, and a cheesy film burn effect used mostly in the sex scenes. The music also holds a certain masochistic appeal.

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Likelihood it will rise from obscurity: Edit out the (brief) nudity, trim down the BDSM club scenes, and Bound could play on Lifetime, no problem. Barring that, doubtful. Profits from people thinking they were renting the movie where Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly play lesbian con artists will be negligible at best.

Damnable commentary track or special features?: Nothing on the VOD version, but The Asylum’s website promises a featurette and “gag reel,” which goddamn better involve an actual gag at some point, on the DVD.