Sunday 23 May 2021

Movie Review: The Bedroom Window (1987)

A serial killer mystery with erotic undertones, The Bedroom Window is perforated with characters behaving as foolishly as possible to continuously worsen their predicament.

In Baltimore, young executive Terry Lambert (Steve Guttenberg) starts a torrid affair with Sylvia (Isabelle Huppert), the wife of his boss Collin Wentworth (Paul Shenar). Near 2am, Sylvia witnesses an assault in progress in the park outside Terry's bedroom window. The assailant flees and the victim Denise (Elizabeth McGovern) escapes serious harm. 

Not willing to reveal her affair, Sylvia is reluctant to come forward and identify the assailant. When Terry learns another woman was killed nearby on the same night, he phones the police pretending to have himself witnessed the attack. But the small distortion of the truth spirals into something much more serious when Terry is called to identify the suspect in a police line-up. He then takes an interest in the creepy Carl Henderson (Brad Greenquist), who matches the assailant's description. Another young woman is murdered, and Terry finds himself caught in a web of lies.

A second-rate thriller of sorts and a half-hearted attempt to channel elements from Rear Window, The Bedroom Window cannot escape a feeble script. Regardless of comedian Steve Guttenberg stumbling into a dramatic role, Terry as a protagonist generates no sympathy. From initiating a career-ending affair with the wife of his boss to lying to the police then perjuring himself on the witness stand, he opts for every bone-headed move available to him. He is almost matched for incompetence by a couple of doofus detectives incapable of investigating the obvious.

Writer and director Curtis Hanson (adapting the book by Anne Holden) takes the blame for ploughing ahead with intentions rather than substance. Sidestepping the logic holes are some shiny visual touches, Gilbert Taylor's nighttime cinematography surpassing the material, and a couple of nightclub scenes capture opposite ends of society enjoying nights out under a predator's menacing gaze. And in one courtroom scene, Wallace Shawn as a defence lawyer enlivens proceedings with a snarky if all too easy demonstration of why basic smarts do matter.

The Bedroom Window tries for slick and sexy, but should have just kept the lights off.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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