Desire is supposedly to be an erotic thriller, which means the title should have some plot significance. It does, but not really. The title refers to a perfume, Desire, which is at the center of the murder mystery.
McDonald quickly establishes the murder sequences as disturbing, not erotic, so having three of them just means three disturbing scenes. It’s unfortunate he didn’t give the female actors playing the victims bigger roles… they’re much better than most of his cast.
I suppose the genre assignment qualifies because the investigator is in a relationship with the main suspect. Kate Hodge plays a former cop (she has a deep dark secret involving an officer involved shooting—don’t worry, it’s not a rewarding revelation) who becomes a chief security officer for the perfume company. So when it’s involved in murders, she investigates, along with her old partner—still a cop—played by Robert Miranda. McDonald’s lame understanding of police procedure might make Desire worth a look as a comedy, but Miranda’s at least earnest. Not particularly good, but earnest.
As Hodge’s romantic interest, Martin Kemp is atrocious. He takes himself really seriously though.
Deborah Shelton’s in a small role, she’s even worse than Kemp.
Hodge manages to turn in a respectable performance, given the circumstances. She’s good with Miranda, like they were shooting Desire on breaks from a better movie.
McDonald’s direction is usually bad. He has okay ideas, just no idea how to frame them. The close-ups are, like Desire itself, bad.
Written and directed by Rodney McDonald; director of photography, John Huneck; edited by Michael Thibault; music by Richard Allen; production designer, Jane Cavedon; produced by Rick Conrad.
Starring Kate Hodge (Lauren Allen), Martin Kemp (Gordon Lewis), Robert Miranda (Nick Palermo), Deborah Shelton (Grace Lantel) and Gregg Daniel (Police Captain).