By Richard Winters
My Rating: 2 out of 10
4-Word Review: Killer goes after brides.
Amy (Catlin O’Heaney) is getting ready to get married, but finds herself stalked by a mysterious stranger (Tom Rolfing). She begins to worry that she may fall victim to a psycho that has been murdering women who have been engaged to marry. Detective Gamble (Lewis Arlt) whose own fiancé was murdered at the hands of this same maniac goes on a relentless quest to stop the attacker, but will it be too late?
The film starts out well and has early hints of Scream where we see an audience viewing a reenactment of an urban legend on a theater screen while one of the women in the audience gets killed by the psycho at the same time, which I found to be quite clever. Unfortunately it goes completely downhill afterwards and never recovers. Lots of slow scenes filled with extraneous dialogue and characters that add nothing to the suspense. Most horror films quicken the pace as it gets nearer to the end, but this one doesn’t making the tension almost non-existent.
The identity of the killer is another issue. We are shown his face right up front, which hurts because usually with these things the killer’s true identity is kept a secret until the end, which adds to the entertainment. I also thought it was ridiculous to believe that a man murders one woman because she broke up with him and decided to marry someone else, but then robotically decides to murder every other bride he finds. I wanted more of a backstory to the character and felt one was sorely needed. It also seemed implausible that the police would be clueless as to who it is as when the first bride died they would most assuredly interview her ex-boyfriends, which is standard procedure and had this guy locked up or closely monitored long before things spiraled so out-of-control.
The special effects are minimal and in fact there is barely any blood at all as everything is implied. We see one severed head in a fish tank, but otherwise the camera cuts away before anyone is shown getting stabbed or killed.
O’Heaney is transparent in the lead and isn’t even all that cute. Arlt as the dogged detective isn’t much better. It’s fun seeing Tom Hanks, who appears at the 59-minute mark, in his film debut. James Rebhorn can also be seen here in an early film role with a full head of hair playing a college professor who cheats on his wife with one of his students. You can spot Paul Gleason in a bit part as one of the detectives as well as Robin Lamont during the opening sequence who is best remembered for her rendition of ‘Day by Day’ in both the stage and film version of Godspell.
My Rating: 2 out of 10
Released: September 12, 1980
Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes
Director: Armand Mastroianni
Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube