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  • Far afield from the usual Vivid Video release that usually spotlighted some one or more Vivid Contract Girls, "Mindset" is a fine thriller anticipating the later TV series "Criminal Minds" but without that series' winning cast of experts. Instead writer-director-star Steven St. Croix has to do nearly all the sleuthing on his own, successfully hunting down a serial killer (who humps his femme victims before strangling them, this being an Adult Movie).

    He's married to Melissa Hill, the redhead who is a solid Vivid regular but generally in supporting roles. Fellow cop Anthony Crane calls him in on a case after we see beautiful Rebecca Lord as the first victim of the episode, well-serviced and then killed by a villain whose face is not shown (for suspense).

    St. Croix enlists an expert played by Stephanie Swift to help find the killer, ending up picking his photo out of a High School yearbook, and then instantly seduced by Stephanie (she's not named Swift for nothing) for sex on her desk next to her computer screen. He wears a condom, but half of the movie's XXX scenes are performed bareback.

    Another beauty, with a French name but unlike import Lord an all- American actress, is little-known Celine DeVoux, also victimized by the killer after she serves him as a bartender after hours. Felecia is Hill's BFF and the two predictably have an orgasmic lesbian scene together.

    Lucas Cool's moody lighting does a great job of sustaining the mood of this neo-noir, in which St. Croix visits a criminal who messed up his mind on an earlier case, seeking assistance, to get the right "mindset" to solve the mystery. E.Z. Ryder does a fine, sinister job in underplaying this Hannibal Lecter type of character, and another St. Croix crony, director Jim Enright, pops up as a fellow cop. Yet another cop is played by an uncredited Black actor, who looked to me like Dic Tracy, a frequent Vivid crew member.

    Finale in which Steven saves the damsel in distress in a cave (his wife) and dispatches the killer is not smoothly set up by the preceding scenes but doesn't detract too much from a winning feature. Sadly, in the two decades since making this video St. Croix has not directed any more features, just a few gonzo, all-sex junkers.

    STYLISTIC NOTE: St. Croix and Hill sleep in a large bed shaped like a land-line telephone, quite striking as viewed in a top-shot.