It’s time for a film about a lot of murder planning. It definitely went quite a bit different than I was expecting though and particularly the poster gives you a very different vibe. More of a comedic touch with a lot of crazy shenanigans going on. I think that would have worked rather well but this one jumps the shark around midway and from there things just don’t end well. The main premise here had potential but ultimately it wasn’t to be this time.
The movie starts with Sidney’s new play starting but sadly it ends up bombing. He seems to have lost all of his talent at this point although his wife Myra believes he can still make a comeback. It’s just getting tougher and tougher the older he gets. One day his former pupil Clifford sends over a manuscript that is actually quite excellent. Sidney realizes that this could even be his ticket to stardom if he can just bump the guy off. Can he really do such a thing though? Myra thinks this is a bad idea and tells him not to do it but Sidney is determined. Clifford may be in trouble now!
So the story from this point is actually rather solid. Clifford shows up and there’s a bit of a whole cat and mouse thing going on. Sidney and Myra are acting strangely but Clifford doesn’t really know what’s going on. By the time he is starting to put the pieces together it’s a bit late for him to get away. After all Sidney drove him here and the house is in the middle of nowhere. So the whole thing is rather tense and you could absolutely build a whole film around this premise if you have the nerve for it. The dialogue would carry the film as both keep up the pretense that this is still friendly while Clifford makes the case for why he should live and Sidney makes the case of why he should die.
You would have a whole lot of epic conversations that way. Meanwhile Myra adds to it by trying to come up with positives for Clifford staying alive. She can be a bit overly dramatic in the film like with all the yelling but ultimately I thought she was a good character. I preferred her to the other two at least and while she could be very wishy washy about what she wanted to do, she had some kind of a moral compass at least. Unfortunately things don’t go great for her here. It’s a shame because you feel like the plan to get her had a very low probability of success but at the same time you knew it was going to work.
The cast here is very small as the only other character here is the fortune teller known as Helga. Her powers actually appear to be somewhat legit in this film as she has good instincts and knows things that she just shouldn’t know. She makes for an interesting character. She comes a bit out of nowhere mind you but I suppose she worked well enough. She’s mainly here to help increase the tension and to lead up to the ending.
Now unfortunately what crushes the film is the second half plot twist. It’s a big twist so in a way you should skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen the film but on the other hand it can be a big determiner on if you even watch the film or not so it’s hard to say. But here goes. Basically Clifford and Sidney hatched this plan together in order to bump off Myra and take her money. This is because it turns out that Clifford and Sidney are actually together and he never loved his wife. The whole thing screams shock value for sure and turns the plot on its head. It’s a shame they had to include this element into the movie and it basically takes up both of their dialogues from this moment on.
Their relationship becomes a focal point of the film so you’re just waiting for one of them to be bumped off. The issue is that neither will for a while because you now keep up the cat and mouse game but with both of them playing nice while waiting to make a move. So their scenes get hard to watch for a while there. It’s too bad because this does have a lot of potential but they should have gone with the original premise from the first half. Clifford trying to stay alive while Myra is on the fence and Sidney is the attacker was already a great dynamic that just got ruined there.
The movie knows how to build suspense so I’ll give it that. If it stayed away from shock value then it would have ultimately been better. For the first half the writing is on point as well and the effects throughout the movie are good. While I don’t really buy the whole Myra situation pretty much at all, the film did lay the groundwork for it so I’ll give the movie some credit there. Even if I didn’t buy it, it’s not like it was a plot hole or anything. Just treat it as a gamble that happened to pay off and that works well enough.
Overall, Ultimately I can’t really recommend this one. If you want a classic murder mystery then check out Clue or one of the old Hitchcock films. You can definitely pull off good plot twists in a film to shake things up but this just wasn’t one of them. It ends up overshadowing the rest of the film even though the movie had done some things well. Having weapons around due to the main character being a script writer actually made sense and was a good plot reason to have them around. The tactics were also good but ultimately that was just the end of the line. The ending of the movie is very satisfying at least so it ends on a decent note there.
This is one movie that did not age well. I agree, Dreager1, there are much better thrillers out there!
Yeah this one definitely could have been a whole lot better