Ms. Grey is the long-awaited Severe Sex answer to the ridiculously popular 50 Shades empire. Unless you don’t own a television, lack access to the internet, or neglect to go outside, 50 Shades of Grey has been a part of popular media coverage since the release of the first installment of the book series, and even more so since the 2015 release of the first film. 50 Shades depicts a relationship between a heterosexual couple who engage in some BDSM activities, but also have a pretty messed up relationship outside of the bedroom. Regardless of whether you may like the books or film , there is no denying that the way Anastasia and Mr. Grey relate to each other has caused a huge debate over what are considered to be the best and safest practices within a relationship involving BDSM, as well as what constitutes as abuse, unsafe play, or is just plain cheesy. Directors Lily Cade and Dee Severe have created an alternative to the heterosexual narrative in the relationship between Cade and newcomer Dolly Leigh. Leigh really holds her own with Cade, which is saying a lot since Cade is an intense top, and a veteran performer and director. Other stars include Ela Darling, who is in my favorite scene from Femdom Dream Date (also from Severe Sex), Kasey Warner, and Skin Diamond.
Similarly to how the original movie sets its plot, Ms. Grey starts with Annabelle Irons, a young, naïve, and beautiful woman who is performing the excruciatingly intimidating task of interviewing the untouchable and highly successful Ms. Grey. Of course, Annabelle trips immediately when she walks into Ms. Grey’s office. She’s like a fawn learning to walk on Louboutins. After a minute or so, Annabelle’s questions get into the meat of who Kristin Grey really is. Is she a lesbian? Why is Kristin Grey never seen in public with any significant other? These questions make Grey become flippant and bored. Grey tells Annabelle to email her the rest of the questions, and if Annabelle wants to know more about her sexual preferences she can ask her in a more private way.
The next scene cuts to the hardware store where Annabelle works. Grey is there for some essentials for home improvement to her luxury penthouse, like duct tape, rope and zip ties. Annabelle asks what kind of project the items are for and Grey says “It’s for women. What are you doing with the rest of your evening?” Unlike most people, Annabelle is not deterred from such creepy banter. The next scene takes place in a lesbian bar where Skin Diamond is the bartender. Grey and Annabelle are in a corner chatting. Annabelle is looking over a slave contract. Asserting her authority, Grey tells the confused Annabelle, “I’m a business person. When I see something I want, I get it.” Annabelle seems game, but is not ready to sign the slave contract just yet. She tells Grey that she would like to test the product before she signs. Excited by Annabelle’s business savvy, Grey takes her to her house and begins to show her why she is considered one of the best service-tops in the game.
It’s bath time at Chez Grey, and Annabelle is strapped to the tile wall by Velcro restraints attached by suction cups. Grey begins by kissing and sucking on Annabelle’s nipples, pinching and pulling at them until little screams erupt from Annabelle. Annabelle is then blindfolded, legs spread with one leg attached to a strap on the wall. Grey uses one of the straps to whip Annabelle’s breasts. Grey spins around and starts going down on Annabelle, playing with one of her nipples, and making Annabelle scream even louder. Grey spins Annabelle around so that she can use a small cane on the backside of her thighs and ass. Grey rubs Annabelle off to orgasm, makes her lick her fingers, inserts a long butt plug with several balls into Annabelle’s ass, and then-while still blindfolded-makes Annabelle go down on her and get her off. You think they’re done, but they’re not. This scene is pretty long, and they get some good vagina smacks in, as well as more intense kissing to conclude a very enthusiastic scene.
Some of the highlights of this film are the “Red Room of Pain,” Skin Diamond (because she is Skin Diamond), a threesome with Kasey Warner, and Ela Darling, who needs to be in everything Severe Society does. The Cade/Severe “Red Room of Pain” is much more realistic, more in touch with what actually happens in a private BDSM relationship, and depicts kink in an intimate way that is exciting and definitely not phony. The issue with most “mainstream” depictions of kink or BDSM, is that the producers often either make a situation so cheesy, or so unbelievable that nobody cares about the characters because they seem weak, over-acted, or under-developed.
Luckily, Cade and Severe wanted to make a more believable version of 50 Shades and use their real-life experience to change what they saw as an anti-kink message. Both Cade and Severe do an interview at the end of the film, and they discuss their desire to change the characters from being fucked up kinksters to being real people who also happen to be into kink. Both women critique the relationship between Grey and Anastasia and change the dynamic slightly by the focus of the film being a lesbian relationship. Although, the dynamic isn’t really that different because Grey is still older, more economically stable, and way more sexually experienced than Annabelle, the type of kink the characters can get into is more developed than its mainstream counterpart.
Cade states that the original Mr. Grey was an emotionally cold, distant person who had relationship issues. He tried to control Annabelle outside the bedroom, and was wrong for not treating Anastasia with respect, not the fact that he liked to spank girls. Severe interjects, “Most people would not take a vanilla, naïve girl and push her off the deep end and make her sign a slave contract–nobody does that.” The Cade/Severe team follow the plot up to a point, but the story changes due to the agency that the writer’s have given Annabelle, which they found to be lacking in the mainstream version. Cade nicely explains how the difference between fantasy and reality can often cause confusion for people in relationships. She states that often, people are not always attracted to the nice people, the people that are in the same financial bracket as you. In fact, most people fantasize about the opposite. However, that is the type of thing that makes BDSM play good, it’s that aspect of fantasy, and also remembering that these activities are just play. The original 50 Shades implies that all fetishes come from a dark place, where that may not always –or often – be the case.
In addition to the interview with Cade and Severe, Dolly Leigh sat down with Jimmy Broadway to answer a few questions. These interviews are pretty rich with personal information, and they are a great companion to the film. One thing that these interviews provide is not only a portrait of the personalities behind the content, which is always interesting, but the interviews show the varying perspectives of kinky minds. Not all people who are interested in a particular fetish have the same ideas about why they like that thing, and not everyone will be in agreement about a particular fetish. As long as you treat people with respect, have their consent, and know how to properly use the instruments you wield, you should be able to have a great time and enjoy the fantasy-and not end up like Ms. Grey.