'Down Low' - Ruining Lives One Step at a Time

"Down Low" via IMDb.

It’s possible to dismiss the problems with “Down Low" (Sony) by saying it’s gay actor-turned-director Rightor Doyle’s feature-length directorial debut and he’s just inexperienced. Or maybe that it’s hot gay actor Lukas Gage’s (“The White Lotus,” season one) first screenplay co-write on what is essentially a vanity project. But because of the dedication of the lead and supporting actors, the problems aren’t insurmountable.

Newly out Gary (Zachary Quinto) hires “spirited young” sex worker Kory (Gage) to come to his house for a happy-ending massage. It’s Gary’s first experience of this sort, which leads to a lot of sharing. He got married young to his ex-wife Patty (Audra McDonald) and they started a family – two sons – right away. He also reveals that he has an inoperable brain tumor.

This kind of honesty leads Kory to tell Gary his real name is Cameron. Gary says he realized he’s been alive for almost half a century and hasn’t actually lived a second of it. Cameron, who has no boundaries, makes it his mission to find someone for him. He introduces Gary to a hookup app called Plungr, they create a profile under the name “Lad & Dad,” using a pic of Cameron. 

Without going into too much detail, Sammy (Sebastian Arroyo), the trick arrives, and things deteriorate rapidly. Sammy, who at one point describes Gary as a “flowers-in-the-attic sidepiece,” goes through a plate glass window and falls to his death. Once Gary and Cameron get over the initial shock, argue, and then make up, they craft a plan to dispose of the body, moving it into the house, wrapping it in a tarp, and preparing to sink it in the lake, the same way Gary did with his beloved Weimaraner Duke when he died. 

Naturally, they are interrupted. It’s Gary’s lonely neighbor Sandy (Judith Light), high AF on Ambien, stopping by to borrow some flour. Something close to hilarity ensues. Sandy, “a cool Christian who is down [with] the gays” just as long as they don’t ask her to bake a cake for their wedding, eventually discovers Sammy’s body, which Gary hid in a closet while Cameron was distracting her. She evades being cornered and locks herself in one of the house’s many closets.

Following Gary’s tennis court panic attack, Cameron suggests they find someone on the dark web to assist them with the removal of Sammy. That’s where crack-smoking, crime scene clean-up specialist and necrophiliac Buck (Simon Rex) aka Flesh Puppet enters the picture. In other words, things go from bad to worse, especially when they discover that Sammy wasn’t dead after all.

Avoiding spoilers, a different kind of happy ending occurs a month later, following Gary’s funeral. After Cameron confronts Gary’s ex, Patty, he has a meaningful exchange with Raymond (Christopher Reed Brown), one of Gary’s sons, resulting in Gary getting the send-off he always wanted. 

Rating: C+


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