There’s airport-novel fun in this earnestly overripe thriller about a rural British Columbian woman whose life unravels with the arrival of an old pal who has the hots for the woman’s hubby. Results involve murder (or is it suicide?) and a really dumb cover-up. Pic’s sexier angles could help “Desolation Sound” find limited theatrical attention, although well-marketed vid sell-through is more likely.
Aussie-born Helene Joy gets to show off as Laurel, an artist and single mom languishing in backwoods isolation as her photographer husband (an underused Ian Tracey) heads off on long trips. When Laurel’s longtime friend Elizabeth (Jennifer Beals in femme fatale mode) shows up — wielding wooden voodoo dolls, no less — there’s a gradual personality transfer between Laurel and Elizabeth. Quebec star Lothario Bureau has a memorable part as an oddball ex-con drawn into the proceedings, and Ed Begley Jr. does a good job playing it straight as a weak cop trying to figure things out while yielding to the heroine’s suddenly aggressive allure. In fact, he gives portent-laden pic its only shot of naturalism, slightly upping the emotional stakes.