Reviews

Urge to Kill, The (1989)

You can ask Alexa pretty much anything: the weather in Chicago (cold), the speed of light (fast), the age of the oldest person in the world (122). You can ask her to dim the lights, play “Double Vision” by Foreigner, and order Tide pods. But, Alexa can’t do it all.

That’s why you need S.E.X.Y.

If you want to film a naked lady wriggling in your bed, just ask S.E.X.Y.
If you want to fry a naked lady under a tanning bed, just ask S.E.X.Y.
If you want to boil a naked lady until her skin sizzles off, just ask S.E.X.Y.

S.E.X.Y. stands for Sensual Environment Control System. Obviously. She’s integrated into the home of a highly successful and highly horny music producer named Bono (rhymes with no-no). But S.E.X.Y. isn’t just a computer. She’s something more. She’s a green, blood-hungry killer with dramatic eye make-up and an Ancient Egyptian haircut.

S.E.X.Y. picks off Bono’s nubile conquests, manipulates videos into fake news, causes hallucinations, and holds everyone in the house hostage. She also spends a lot of time staring at breasts, which means we do too. 

This all sounds good—and it is—but it’s not the coke-fueled, 24-hour party you expect from a movie about a possessed computer belonging to a poonhound producer. Truth be told, The Urge to Kill hasn’t the strongest urge to kill. Would-be victims lounge around in the Jacuzzi and spend much time wondering if they should call the super (they should, but they don’t). There are long periods where people shuffle around the house or talk on the phone. The movie feels like Death Spa’s British lethargic cousin who’s hungover from an actual coke-fueled, 24-hour party that you somehow weren’t invited to. But even though The Urge to Kill is plodding and repetitive at times, it’s still got surprises and plenty of sleaze. There’s a handful of creative kills—including death by toothbrush—and the camera often rests serenely on nipples. There’s also a scene where an S&M escort licks every single one of Bono’s greasy fingers. This sequence unfolds in real time, and it is at once magnetic and nauseating. Deadpan actors deliver their (dubbed) lines on a two-second delay, making conversations feel halted and surreal. 

Pause. “I used to be a dancer.” Pause.
Pause. “Great!” Pause. “I used to be a virgin.” Pause.

This makes The Urge to Kill feel like it’s in no hurry whatsoever. But, I love it nonetheless.

This movie is a little bit like watching your mom use technology. It’s funny at first, and then fascinating because she really just doesn’t get it. Once, while showing my mom how to play music on her phone, she asked, “After one song ends, will the next one play?” But then it turns frustrating. “What is the cloud?” And then it becomes torture. “What do you mean push the button with the music note on it?” But after the frustration wears off, you get to see your mom’s music collection and her unapologetic love for all things Usher, who really does have the voice of an underrated angel. 

Directed by Derek Ford and produced by Dick Randall (legendary badass who produced Don’t Open Till Christmas, Slaughter High, and Pieces, among others), The Urge to Kill is every bit as lovable as it is frustrating. But at its heart, it’s a cautionary tale about technology, the music biz, and lace onesies.

S.E.X.Y., play Usher.

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