Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Beyond Suspicion/Appointment for a Killing (1993)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.  A few modifications have been made.

When you say that a movie was made for TV, it‘s not usually meant to boost people’s expectations about it.  I’m not saying that it’s fair, but it’s often right.  Take Appointment for a Murder, a.k.a. Beyond Suspicion.  The movie is about a dentist, Stan, who has a thing for killing people for money.  Shortly after divorcing his wife, Joyce, he admits to killing someone, but in such a vague manner that she can’t really pin anything on him.  The next morning, Stan threatens that if she tells anyone, he’ll kill her or arrange to have her killed.

She does go to the police, but they don’t take her seriously.  Stan didn’t give out any details like names, locations or motives.  She does catch the attention of a Federal Agent Ron McNally, who thinks that he can link Stan to several murders.  What really makes Stan  a suspect and makes the whole operation possible is that Stan killed someone that he owed money to, which looked very suspicious.  (There was no proof, of course, but it was very convenient for Stan.)   Joyce agrees to have her house bugged so that the authorities can hopefully get some evidence.

Of course, it’s not that easy.  Stan is a cold, calculating person and would never admit to doing anything so quickly.  Yes, Stan does go over to Joyce’s new place a lot, but he’s not the kind of person that usually makes mistakes.  Plus, you’ve got Joyce’s meddling cat, who starts playing with one of the microphones, drawing Stan’s attention.  (I’ve always thought that this sort of thing is cliché and used only to add some drama, but I digress.)  Joyce does eventually get Stan to confess to murder on tape, thus sending Stan to jail for a long time.

Now, in this case, the movie does reek of being made for TV.  First, you’ve got those fadeouts every fifteen or twenty minutes.  Second, the video quality looks like it was made for the small screen.  Add to that the fact that there’s not much of a detailed story or character development.  (It’s based on a true story.)  There are three big names involved in the movie:  Corbin Bernsen as Stan, Markie Post as Joyce and Kelsey Grammer as Agent McNally.  (Don Swayze is the only other person I recognized.)

The movie takes place in St. Louis.  There are a few establishing shots of St. Louis, like the Gateway Arch, but the rest of the film could have been filmed anywhere.  The houses look like any other houses in any suburban area.  The streets look like they could be anywhere.  I guess one of the advantages of it being so far inland is that you don’t have to worry about coastlines.  (I guess it is kind of hard to put that sort of stuff in inconspicuously.)

I got this as part of a two-pack of movies a long, long time ago with the intention of writing reviews.  (The other movie was To Love, Honor And Deceive.)  Both movies were decent, but I really think I should have skipped these.  I don’t even remember how much I paid for them, but I think it was too much.  If you’re going to watch this movie, I’d recommend waiting for it to come on TV again.

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