You gotta love it when you see a slightly demented Daryl Hannah threatening to shove her thumb through the soft spot on a babys head. And to do it with that faintly ethereal vacant look of hers. This is true madness. Add Keith Carradine as the absolutely malevolent father searching for his daughter, we have the Brady Bunch gone bad.
If you believe in monsters hiding in our closet or lurking under your bed, don't bother to pick this one up. Where Rebecca DeMornay chilled your blood with her unusual duties as a nanny in Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Daryl Hannah makes the small hairs on your arm stand straight up. She wanders through this movie with an entirely detached look on her face, as if she has never faced reality. Her movements, speech and expressions make you toss a quick look over your shoulder. Brrrrrrr
As her soulmate, Keith Carradine is as deranged as a person can be without their lithium. Watching him pursue his daughter makes you want to gather your children in your arms, no matter their age. He is slightly built anyway and the makeup job they did (or did they?), giving him even a shallower facial expression, was outstanding. His eyes, however, were his own creation. They dripped with hatred and sizzled with determination.
Vincent Spano and Moira Kelly are the perspective adoptive parents of Hannah's & Carradine's daughter, Janie (Julia Devin). They both love and fear the child as she begins her self destructive rituals. As a struggling architect, Spano is designing a new home for his loving family, which becomes a hideaway later in the movie.
While they did a wonderful job in their parts, I thought they were dealt a bad hand with the script. Then again, the story was about Hannah, Carradine and Devin, so maybe their parts as fillers in the movie were fair. Unresolved about that.
Julia Devin played a magnificent part. Child actors always leave me in awe with their ability to convey their feelings, feelings they shouldn't have a history with. I think child actors in these type of movies are some of the most under appreciated in the business. Sure, we all think those cute kids portraying their snappy, happy parts are wonderful but how hard is it for a child to portray a happy child? In horror, sci-fi, or supernatural flicks they face situations one would hope they have never dealt with in their lives. And they make them believable. I wondered what went through Devin's head as she cowered in the corner watching Hannah tearing away the drywall that separated them. Hell, she made me afraid - a fantastic job by a young artist.
Bo Johnson and Bobby Bukowski create a delightful bit of eye candy with the cinematography and art direction. Wesley Strich, as director, pulls remarkable performances out of a sordid story line and writer Michael Auerbach gives you a movie that is a little too harsh for the middle America public. Story line aside, I think it was a clean, smooth production, even if it was a tad bit evil.
As in the ill fated dog in Cujo, the monsters in this movie are entirely real. There truly are evil men and women out there stalking people. There truly are evil parents out there terrorizing their children. There truly are monsters under your bed.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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