Deadly Lessons (1983)This over-lit, dated TV movie with a really annoying soundtrack tells of how a psycho is stalking the students at an exclusive girls’ school, very slowly. The opening credits set the mood as they try to be ominous but the music just annoys. Stefanie (Diane Franklin of ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ and ‘Better off Dead’) arrives at the ominously named Starkwater Hall for summer school.
She’s perky and wears a dress even the Amish would say was too conservative, so to no-one’s surprise mean girl Tember instantly yells: “Something unpleasant is crawling across the driveway.” Stefanie blinks in dumb incomprehension. So Tember’s friend Lauren adds: “I’d stay out of Tember’s way if I were you, she doesn’t mix with groody people.”
Stefanie looks confused, possibly because everyone looks like they’re 35 except Lauren who looks a hard 43. Rapidly Stefanie meets Marita (Ally Sheedy of ‘The Breakfast Club’), Cally (Renee Jones), Libby (Nancy Cartwright of ‘The Simpsons’), Princess Shama, bad touch riding instructor Ferrar, stable boy Eddie (Bill Paxton of ‘Twister’ and ‘Frailty’), the klepto wig wearing Althea, the creepy withered handyman Hartigan and the headmistress Miss Wade (Donna Reed) who has a hairdo from the 1950s.
Lauren and Althea are dorm mates as are Tember and Libby, Stefanie and Shama and Marita and Cally. Several scenes show that Lauren, Althea and Tember are the Mean Girls and the rest are nice, sort of. The next day Stefanie, Shama, Marita and Cally sneak out to go swimming. They don’t ask Libby to join them. Which is as well for Libby because the foursome find Tember (or rather a bad dummy) face down in the lake. But seeing as how Libby loathes Tember, maybe she would have liked to see that. Cue badly acted reactions.
Det Kemper (Larry Wilcox) and Officer Craig (Rick Rossovich) show up to find the killer as red herrings fall from the skies in unending shoals. I cannot get over the horrible 1980’s attire and haircuts. Althea is being lined up as the next victim as everyone hates her, she’s a klepto who looks 45 and she wears a wig that Shama likes to rip off. Stefanie gets into a fight with her but doesn’t rip her wig off sadly.
But before that much is made of how Tember had Eddie’s elder brother sent to jail. Why wasn’t she expelled and why does he have a job? Stefanie loves plaid, possibly due to the fact she’s from a farm in the San Joaquin Valley and coos over Marita‘s toy monkey like she‘s five years old. Lauren storms around shrieking: “Who could be so barfy?” In a film full of acting that’s either bad or borderline comatose, she is the absolute worst. The death of Tember makes Marita and Cally bounce around like cheetahs on meth. Than Althea is murdered. Lauren who has the face and personality of a desert dwelling rodent acts ‘upset’, very badly.
Then for some inexplicable reason the really obvious killer gets obsessed with Stefanie and stages the first (of three) attempts to kill her. Cally and Marita sneak around in the dark to meet boys ignoring the fact there is a killer wandering around pushing hay bales onto plaid lovers and throttling wig wearing kleptos.
Stefanie decides to makes eyes at Eddie and befriend the bullied Libby and the socially awkward leather bag Lauren. Isn’t she wonderful? She invented oxygen don’t you know? Meanwhile a love traingle of ick involving generic ho-bag Miss Wade, her kept man, man trash Ferrar and Shama is going on. Plus Eddie is making eyes back at Stefanie, this school is full of pervs.
Stefanie wakes up one night, notes Shama isn’t in bed and dumbly goes looking for her. With a killer roaming the halls. Shama has been throttled and somehow all three deaths are kept quiet. More sub par soap/dreadful acting takes place as Libby goes missing, Cally is attacked, Marita is abducted and Stefanie is the final girl.
Stefanie comes face to face with the killer who should have been immediately obvious. The killer has mommy issues and shuts doors, evilly. Killer is also a bit dumb, if the mad killer had just throttled Stefanie instead of doing a big speech said killer would have got away with it all. This OTT cheese that resembles a Virginia Andrews novel. It’s okay but lame.
“Let you see what the brochure left out about Starkwater Hall.”
“He’s even weirder than he looks. Best to be pleasant to him.”
“Do you ride?”
“We have to. It’s supposed to be a social grace.”
“The vibes of that school are completely out of whack.”
“It looks like she flunked out of Bryn Mawr.”
“No problem, her parents will donate a library and get her into someplace else.”
“Last night Tember made me clean out her closet again. Then I had to give her the answers to the science test. I said no and she punched me in the stomach.”
“It’s getting pretty scary around here.”
“Don’t let the mad murderer get me!”
“Where is your sense of decency?”
“It was you.”
“Yes Stefanie, it was me.”
The Kingdom (2007)There is an attack on a housing complex in Saudi Arabia and an FBI team head over to get answers. This is like an extended ‘CSI’ episode, it’s good though. It has good moments like the opening montage, the camel moment and friendship forming between Fleury (Jamie Foxx), Sykes (Chris Cooper), Mayes (Jennifer Garner) and Adam (Jason Bateman) and Faris. Still, how did anyone survive the car crash? Didn’t anyone need to reload during the climatic fight? Plus the ending was downbeat.