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2.9 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2012
"Into the Lions Den" will illicit great support from fans of Ronnie Kroell, many of whom will like this film based on his character and acting skills. He is not bad as an actor, and I have been pleasantly surprised at many of his past efforts, and am looking forward to his portrayal of the ghost of Christmas Past in "Marley" (currently in production). However, the fact that I am a fan of him as a person and his work both in film and politics (Ronnie is an ardent and passionate activist against bullying and the devastation that such has on the lives of young men and women), does not make me a fan of this film.

Three friends (Michael, Johnny and Ted) undertake a road trip out of NY into the country side as a means of settling the score between them. It seems that there is a residual unhappiness between the three friends, which rears itself throughout the trip as each character addresses their issues with each other. Before returning they are convinced to go to a local bar, filled with patrons who are not comfortable with either homosexuals or the openness displayed by the three friends. Despite jarring the atmosphere, the three seem to settle in with the local crowd after an initial incident, and end up drinking until closing time. Left alone with the bar owner and his wife, the evening descends into a night of horror, which ends in both rape and murder.

The subject matter is far from easy, and whilst at times the humour is black, there are unsettling and frightening moments. The first rape scene in particular, was both crass and unsettling. Despite the victim possessing an inner strength and power which is admirable under the circumstances, one cannot help but feel that the subject matter was dealt with inappropriately and far too lightly. Perhaps this was the fault of the director, as both the scripting and the acting seemed to give effect to the horror inflicted upon him, but the end result leaves the audience feeling as if it was treated glibly. Perhaps it was his (the director Dan Lantz) intention to show how gay men are often treated or considered as less than human when victims of a crime? If this was the case, then it was not successful.

The fact that a perpetrator of rape can be both male and female was an interesting inclusion in the scripting, as this is an often unspoken and misunderstood reality. Ronnie's character deals with this both seriously and accurately, without the usual white washing that accompanies such. In truth males are victims of rape, and sometimes the perpetrator is a woman. This does not diminish the horror and offence, and under no circumstances should male victims be treated any differently in the handling of such a crime.

Clearly the budget was limiting in this case, which may have impacted negatively on the final product. Despite which there are moments of good acting, scripting and direction. Unfortunately, the final product lacks substance and fails to meet the grade of a good horror. Even fans of B-grade horror will be disappointed, and it lacks the flavour and characterisation often found in horrors that have similar budgetary restraints.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 27 January 2013
This is the story of three gay friends from West Hollywood who having grown bored with all that sun shine and happy laid back people have decided to take a road trip to the Big Apple. Along the way they want to get a flavour of the country they are passing through. The 38 years old guy of the bunch is Johnny (Jesse Archer - `Going Down in La La Land') has a mobile positioning device that lets him know where all available action is en route and so wants to get a bit more `flavour' than most.

Anyway they end up in Nowherseville at a crummy motel but Johnny wants to go to a low rent dive called `The Lion's Den', (now you get the title)it's the sort of place where dust goes to die and the in house singer - `The Mouth of the South', should be on that X Factor show, just to be humiliated with her truly appalling vocals - and she was dubbed!

Anyway there are a few scuffles and Michael ( played rather well by Ronnie Kroell - `Eating Out Drama Camp') and Ted decide to leave, but alone at the bar things don't go so nicely for Johnny as he finally gets a bit of `flavour' but it was far from what he wanted to sample. What happens next is the inevitable `horror'. Actually the themes are horrible but in many aspects it is far from being horrific. It is comedic in places, some issues are dealt with but it is all a bit predictable, no one will be gasping at a sudden plot shift and the production values are a bit - `oh dear' at times too. The acting varies in quality as does the sound and I am not going to bother with ropey lighting as I have seen far worse, but is still inexcusable. And there are some plot holes or moreover people doing stupid things that will always end in disaster type scenarios, which I find yawn worthy at best.

All that said I still watched the full 82 minutes and felt it was an OK film and a reasonable way to pass the time but not one for a second viewing at all, as I said there are a lot worse films out there but like wise this could have been a fair bit better.
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on 19 January 2013
LION'S DEN is an an enjoyable film but it is flawed. The dvd had several problems with the sound quality. A few times I could not hear the dialogue despite turning the sound up extremely high.The entire film's sound had to be played at a higher than normal level for watching dvds. The lighting must have had a $10 budget and it shows.Mostly the indoor scenes were badly lit. The finale in the woods at night was woeful.It had the appearance of being filmed in the daytime with a cloudless blue sky. There is nothing worse than seeing day for night scenes.It looked weird seeing all that blue sky whilst the ground is darkened by a filter.There was no excuse for this incredibly bad lighting in the woods scene.The finale in the woods, was also very predictable.That partly was the fault of the screenplay.There were no suprises.You could tell what would happen and to whom before it actually happened. The film should have ended with the final scene in the woods as the camera panned away from the characters.That would have given the film a much greater impact on the audience.It would have made you think about what may have happened to the characters. Unfortunately we are given one last closing scene about what happened after the woods scene.It ruined the film for me. 'Less is more' ,should have applied to the ending.The acting was superb from the Lion's Den owners.Even the title of the film suits its many themes.It was not a total failure and it was better than most American gay films but it should have been much better.It had its merits along with some surprises in the first part of the film.
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on 25 February 2014
Just got done watching this film. And it's actually shorter than 82 minutes. The film isn't bad. It's just not very good either. But the lead guy is HOT and hardcore gay porn star jake steel makes an appearance.
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on 7 March 2014
Badly filmed, poorly plotted, dreadfully acted (except for Ronnie Kroell who needed a better director), this film is utterly dreadful. I'm all for supporting movies made on a tiny budget, but when the script is as poor as this I'm amazed it ever got off the page.
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on 3 July 2014
Started well but then slid into mediocrity as the so-called horror scenes started. What could have been quite scary had another director got hold of it became almost laughable because of the poor acting of just about everyone. What was really ridiculous was the amount of liquor that everyone drank and yet still managed to stay on their feet. The only thing more ridiculous is why I am wasting time giving it a review!!!!
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on 14 June 2014
as films go ,worth looking at. story could have been better. little bit of sex made me laugh. and out takes was good.
not the best gay film I seen .but lot better then som
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on 1 September 2014
Not sure about this one - acting good
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on 14 November 2015
Great film
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on 6 August 2016
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