“Living in Peril” is a 1996 thriller starring Robe Lowe and Jim Belushi. If I am not mistaken, this is the first time since “About Last Night” both of these actors shared the screen. My brother and I both have a love-hate vibe for “About Last Night, but LOVE the chemistry Lowe and Belushi shared. Therefore, when we discovered they were in another movie together we had to see it. It is also nice that this DVD provides a nice widescreen presentation.
This film is about an architect named Walter Woods (Rob Lowe) who is traveling from Seattle to Los Angeles for month in order to design a home for an “off the cuff” client (Jim Belushi). Walter did have reservations about leaving for a month. His pregnant wife Linda (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) is still very much traumatized by her abusive ex-husband. This promotes nightmares and paranoid thoughts for Linda. This doesn’t please Walter, but he has to work. On his way to LA, Walter has a run in with a crazy truck driver who runs Walter off the road. This results in Walter taking down the trucker’s number and reporting him.
Since Walter will be on a month long job he is going to need a place to stay. This leads him to an apartment house ran by William (played caustically and dourly by Dean Stockwell). The only other residents at this apartment house are an aspiring comedian who is from Germany and a sultry call girl.
From the moment Walter reaches LA he is plagued with torment. Somebody has it out for Walter and begins to terrorize him. Some of the insidious factors Walter falls victim to are rats in his bed, a broken toe and his designs being destroyed (just watch the scene). Walter is confused and isn’t sure who is out to get him. He believes it is the trucker he ran into. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t….
Some other reviewers in this forum were a bit harsh on this movie. I must agree that the movie has a bit of a “direct to video” feel to it. In contrast, I have seen some pretty damn good movies that were DTV. The pace of the movie isn’t slow, but it allows some tension to gradually grow until a very interesting zenith. I felt the acting was very good. Rob Lowe, Jim Belushi, Dean Stockwell and Richard Moll (in a cameo) all gave great performances.
I also believe that the apartment house and music are paramount in this film. The apartment house has a 1940s vibe with its structure and deep red walls. This color emulates doom and claustrophobia. The music is a score that is subtle but allows luminosity to each scene perfectly.
This movie might not fit everyone’s tastes. I found it to be a good thriller that utilizes music, lighting, characters and circumstances to drive its unveiling. In many aspects this movie has a film noir quality to it. Nowadays many movie viewers tend to be more prone to explosions, tons of special effects, CGI and actors whose selling points are their looks, not their performances. I find this film gets better with each viewing, I truly believe movies like this aren’t really being created anymore and that is a shame.
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Joshua E Hoppock (The_Straw_Man)
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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Ambition and treachery are an explosive combination when a driven young architect moves to jet-setting L.A. to pursue a dream job that ignites into a terrifying nightmare. Walter Woods (Rob Lowe, The West Wing) leaves his wife behind, coming west to design a Bel Air mansion for a very rich and eccentric client (James Belushi, According to Jim). But from the moment he arrives, his entire life begins to unravel. Shaken from a near road accident, Walter's apartment manager (Dean Stockwell, Blue Velvet) pulls him deeper into a suspenseful world of darkness and danger, where every turn is a dead end and every friendly gesture is marked by deceit. Desperate and terrified, but determined to discover who is out to ruin him, Walter fights back -- but the price for winning back his life may be his soul...