Eight months after the shattering events that formed the climax of director Jason Impey's SEX LIES AND DEPRAVITY, this sequel catches up with several of that film's key players and assesses how they've been affected by what happened.

Ethan (Wade Radford) now lives with boyfriend Kyle (Zachary Ockenden). Far from being the hedonistic druggie he was previously, he's now withdrawn and suffers from sleepless nights spent mulling over how it all went so wrong with volatile pal Jake.

Carla (Victoria Howlett), Ethan's former druggie flatmate, has moved back to her mother's house and got a job in the local gay bar in a bid to sort her life out.

Ethan's sometime friend Lisa (Kealey Gavillet), meanwhile, has become a spokesperson for battered women on local late-night radio shows. She's stayed true to her friend Hannah by assuming legal custody of her daughter Carrie (Chelsea Impey). In the meantime, she and Ethan share a mutual desire to be as far away from one another as possible.

Julie (Emilia Ufir) has split up from her husband, and turns up on the doorstep of her old pal Lisa with her son Max. Lisa lets them stay under her roof, bonded as they are not only by a childhood friendship but by both being close to what happened several months earlier.

What happened several months earlier? Oh, you're going to have watch SEX LIES AND DEPRAVITY to find out. But these people were all closely affected by it, and even found their names being printed in the local newspapers when they became witnesses in the police investigation that followed.

Because of this small-scale fame, drug dealers Zee (Ruggero Dalla Santa) and Leon (Nathaniel Francis) are finally able to ascertain the whereabouts of Carla and Ethan. They've been hunting them for some time, keen to recoup from them the money they both owe.

They catch up with Carla quite quickly. Fortunately for her, she owes the lesser amount - and promises to pay up once she gets her wage at the end of the month. Ethan, however, owes a lot more. Zee is determined to make him pay in more ways than one - but he's going to have to find him first.

As Ethan eludes his pursuers while rekindling his romance with Kyle during a short caravan holiday, he resolves to stop tormenting himself over past events and move on with his life.

This brings about a 'new' Ethan upon his return from holiday: he aims to bag a favour from his sister Emily (Keylee Jade Flanders), confront Zee, settle old scores with his mother (Victoria Welton) and make contact with Lisa in a bid to help her keep custody of Carrie.

Which is all very well, but how will Ethan cope when he comes face to face with a ghost from his past...?

MORE is just that. It takes the raw, handheld approach of its predecessor and maintains that urgency. The results are largely similar in terms of authenticity, painting a refreshingly realistic picture of council estate squalor and bedsit poverty issues. The social worker, Annie (Kerry Jo Hodgkin), adds a welcome extra facet of politics to the already angry drama. In a nice twist, she's an authority figure who's allowed to convey some common sense and - shock! - compassion. So it's not all just "fuck the State" vitriol.

In fact, almost everyone in MORE is portrayed as fundamentally decent. The only completely morally bankrupt person in this film is Ethan's mother - who goes a long way to explaining why he's turned out so fucked up.

Performances are mostly very convincing. Radford excels once again as the sexually aggressive Ethan, a lost soul who thinks he's in control even when he's far from home. Howlett is excellent, while Flanders suggests she'd be outstanding if given a larger role in future.

The script, once again by Radford, is gritty and in touch with modern British culture. There is, admittedly, an over-reliance on the word "cunt". This didn't offend me - I simply thought the word had lost its impact by the midway point: there's a later scene where the usually timid Kyle gets defensive about his boyfriend and tells Ethan's mother she's a cunt. That should've been a 'punch the air' victory moment, but by then the word has lost all meaning.

Playing Zee and Leon as a bickering comedy duo was a bum note, I felt. And the concerns of Lisa, Julie and Carrie don't serve any satisfying narrative purpose.

But these flaws, along with the occasional tendency to kill time by offering a montage of non-speaking footage (characters shagging, for example) to pop songs, don't ruin the overall effect: MORE SEX LIES AND DEPRAVITY is a top-notch example of British micro-budget filmmaking.

Before I watched this film I was concerned that it was going to be an indulgent extension of a previous film Impey and Radford had enjoyed unexpected critical success with; I feared it would be a messy, aimless rehash of former ideas with lesser conviction. However, by the time I reached its finale I was left excited to see where the forthcoming third instalment will take these (surviving) characters.

For more information on this film and its availability, check out the official site.

Review by Stuart Willis

Directed by Jason Impey