“Dante’s Cove” Heavy on Allure, Light on Substance

 
 

Kevin (Gregory Michael), Toby (Charlie David) and Van (Nadine Heimann)The look and feel of Dante’s Cove, as well as some of the language, is at times embarrassingly 1990s. And sometimes the hipness is forced, such as during the extended sequence featuring one the gang’s self-proclaimed “bitchin’” parties. Worse still, an early scene lazily relies on clunky dialogue [here paraphrased] to deliver crucial background information:

“Do you realize this was where we first met?”
“You’re right! On this beach.”
“Yeah, and I told you that you needed more sunblock.”
“Uh huh. When was that—two months ago?”

The characters’ sexual adventurousness is pointed out ad nauseum and with dubious enthusiasm: Look! There’s Kevin (Gregory Michael) locking eyes with the cabbie in the rearview mirror while Toby (Charlie David) is retrieving something he apparently dropped in Kevin’s lap and is taking forever to find!

And goody—Amber (Zara Taylor) just found the studded collar she’s been searching all over for! Oh, there’s that Van (Nadine Heimann), topless on the beach…again!

But the purpose Dante’s Cove serves is simple and pointed: it’s a queer supernatural thriller that’s heavy on allure and light on substance. The actors are young, sexy and frequently in flagrante. Things at the hotel are so casual that when one resident gives a tour to a newbie, he flings open one room’s unlocked door and immediately in view is a male-female couple having sex. They don’t bother to disengage, simply greeting the newcomer and asking that the door be re-shut. On the beach there are almost as many bonfires at night as there are broad-daylight couplings.

Most of the sex we see involves a man—and usually two. Kevin and his boyfriend Toby are frequently at it: in a cab (bold), on the beach (risky), in the shower (steamy) and even on a bed (yawn).

Amber does catch the eye of Chrissy (Michaela Mann), the woman who takes over for the party’s deejay on a break. When the deejay returns Chrissy and Amber scurry off to cavort by the beachside bonfire. But it’s more frolic than fever we see them share. And when sexy Van later seduces another partygoer (Rena Riffel) into joining her on a beer run to the basement, we’re treated to lots of heavy breathing, fervent fondling, suggestive writhing and the odd bare breast or shoulder. But the camera cuts away before things go any further.

Both scenes tease the viewer then cut away before anything gets too heavy. In general, the women’s scenes are interrupted prematurely while the men’s scenes linger to the point of loitering.

The first episode of Dante’s Cove ends with a music-video-like montage of classic horror flick images, among them cracking mirrors, menacing dolls, beckoning ghouls, violent lightning and screaming children. In November, part two will air, and the show’s website tells us we can expect to find Ambrosius “doing all he can to influence Kevin and lure him to the dark side,” enlisting the help of Cory as his “minion.”

We can also look forward to Grace’s return, after her fierceness was confined to the very beginning of the first episode. Van and Toby are said to continue delving into the Cove’s mysteries and trying to break the spell that has taken a hold on Kevin. Will they be able to overpower Ambrosius before it’s too late? Watch and find out.

Learn more about the series at dantescove.com

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