Playing House with Mayra Leal is a lot of fun, especially if you grew up watching flicks like Body Chemistry and Scorned on Cinemax when the folks were away. Directed by newcomer Tom Vaughan, the film centers on a young married couple whose relationship is suddenly threatened by a homicidal seductress hellbent on living the American dream.
Mitch and Jen McKenzie (Craig Welzbacher, Sarah Prikryl) have just moved into their dream house. He’s a doctor looking to make partner at the private practice where he works. She’s a professional chef about to land her own kitchen at an upscale restaurant. Despite their promising careers, the duo find themselves in a financial pinch and so decide to rent out a room to Mitch’s friend Danny (Matt Lusk).
Danny is a good-natured slob who likes to spend his time playing PS3 with Mitch because it helps to keep his mind off Debbie, the cute girl who dumped him after a three year romance. Jen, figuring she’ll do everyone a favor, tells Danny that he should try online dating. Enter Blair (Mayra Leal), a beautiful dark-haired girl with a mysterious past and an aversion to clothes.
Blair, infatuated with Mitch and his big house, sets out to seduce him. It’s not hard to do. She’s beautiful and he’s sexually frustrated due to his and Jen’s work schedules. Jen’s lack of sexual spontaneity since Danny’s arrival isn’t helping matters much either. Against his better judgement, Mitch goes from peeping a nude Blair in the pool to pawing her in the shower.
To say anything more would be to take away from the fun of watching Vaughan’s ode to old-school erotic thrillers. Just know that Mayra Leal does get naked (and it is wonderful), a cute pet is brutally murdered, and there are two awesome scenes of girl-on-girl violence.
Leal, best known for her memorable—and very naked—turn as a deadly, double-crossing chica in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, plays the femme fatal role with gusto, but still manages to keep her performance grounded despite the outrageous goings-on in the story. Sarah Prikryl as Jen is sympathetic and Craig Welzbacher infuriates as clueless husband Mitch—a credit to both actors’ skills.
Playing House is a guilty pleasure that—thanks to Leal and a solid script from Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin—is surprisingly better than many of the ’90s erotic thrillers it pays homage to. The film is now available on DVD and can be purchased at Amazon.
For more info, visit the Playing House website.