With films like “Fair Play,” “Saltburn,” “Poor Things,” and the upcoming “Challengers” debuting around the same time frame, it feels like we’re finally seeing the resurgence of erotic thrillers in a way we haven’t since the 1990s. That said, “Burning Betrayal” embraces the sexy sledgehammer subtlety and melodrama of the era with both hands, channeling a similar energy seen in the skin flicks that once dominated HBO after hours.
Marco is a walking red flag, there’s a mysterious stalker subplot, Babi is frequently unveiling secrets of her ex, and she’s constantly being warned by others about her new beau. Freitas cloaks the film in neon lighting that would make Joel Schumacher proud, and Babi’s motorcycle habit keeps her clad in skin-tight leather for much of the film’s runtime, not unlike Pamela Anderson in “Barb Wire.” This film oozes so much sexuality that it doesn’t matter that the actual story is paper thin.
It doesn’t take a genius to see why “Burning Betrayal” is charting so well around the globe, especially in countries with repressive attitudes toward sexuality. Babi may be the star, but she is not the only person radiating arousal. Her friend Patty (Camilla de Lucas) is constantly trying to get it in, there’s a “passage of time” montage set to people bumpin’ and grinding, and there is no shortage of half (or fully) nude men who look like they were carved from marble just … existing and being hot. The film miraculously never goes full frontal thanks to perfectly executed cinematography, but by god, it gets closer than anything else I’ve seen in a Netflix release.