Doctor Ian Burton (Eric Roberts) is a college professor who believes that objects retain impressions of the past. To prove his theory (and hopefully, not lose tenure), Burton recruits one of his students, Lila Reed (Kari Wuhrer), who has shown that she may have psychic abilities. Lila holds objects and she sees the past. At first, she is intrigued but then she realizes that she keeps seeing the same woman in her visions. The woman was a former student of Burton’s. She was murdered and the good Doctor Burton is the number one suspect. Can Lila use her power to solve the crime and clear Burton’s name? Or is Burton guilty and using her for something more sinister than just testing a thesis?
Sensation is one of the many softcore neo-noirs that used to regularly appear, “after hours,” on HBO and Cinemax in the 1990s. Sensation has a tagline (“An experience in terror”) that it never lives up to but it is still watchable because of the combination of the sexiness of Kari Wuhrer and the strangeness of Eric Roberts. The tawdry mystery will not fool anyone and Wuhrer’s visions were all done better in The Dead Zone but Sensation deserves some credit for at least trying to be a little more creative than the average 1990s straight-to-video release.
Keep an eye out for Ron Pearlman, as the lead detective on the case. He does not get to do much but he’s still Ron Pearlman!