Carol Bolts adaptation of her stage play locks its audience in a claustrophobic bachelor flat for a night of black comedy, lust and terror. Jilted on her birthday by her boyfriend, Daisy ...
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Carol Bolts adaptation of her stage play locks its audience in a claustrophobic bachelor flat for a night of black comedy, lust and terror. Jilted on her birthday by her boyfriend, Daisy picks up night club singer Rafe and takes him home. Is he a lover, liar or psychotic serial killer? Watch and see. Watch many times. The film is more complex than it seems and remains eerily contemporary in the issues that still compel us today: law and order, psychotic killers, police and human behaviour. Rafe is by turns charming, funny, and passionate and some would say a psychopath - that is, without feelings, but is he? Brent Carver beautifully portrays the fluidity and depth of this complex character. Daisy feels for Rafe even as her feelings for him turn fearful. A primary question in art as in philosophy is what the truth is. Rafe is a living exemplar of the dilemma. The dogma that says that you cannot make a drama with a liar as its hero is shown to beuntrue.
The standard by which I measure all psychological thrillers
My boyfriend and I watched this movie together when it was first aired, and I have never forgotten it, or its impact. I watched for it on TV listings for years, but it seemed to have disappeared from sight.
I would love to see it again, just to see if it carries the same visceral punch that made me shriek so loudly I almost missed my boyfriend's scream. I had nightmares for weeks afterwards, and when I found myself single again, this absolutely terrifying thriller was the warning that made me think twice before even talking to strangers in a bar.
Young at the time this movie was made, I was easily able to identify with the "scene", and was equally beguiled by the dynamics of the two protagonists. There was a delightful chemistry between Daisy, played by Chappelle Jaffe, and Rafe, played by Brent Carver. I secretly wanted a Rafe all for myself. Attractive, charming, and funny, Rafe gets into Daisy's heart and mind, and she is alive in a way that she has never felt alive before. As she blossomed, so did I.
Little by little, as a darker side of Rafe begins to manifest itself, the movie shifts away from comedy, and the tension begins to mount. Like Daisy, this tension makes us uncomfortable, but with a single comment from Rafe, we are all laughing and enjoying ourselves once again, falling more deeply in love, feeling more and more alive.
As their evening together progresses, the ebb and flow of their unfolding relationship becomes unbearable, greater than almost anything I have ever experienced in a movie, let alone a made-for-TV movie. Which way will it go? How will it all end? We (like Daisy) are so skillfully manipulated, that we are as stunned as she is by the outcome.
When I think of psychological thrillers, this movie has alway been the standard against while all others are measured. Although it was decades before I ever saw Jaffe in anything, it was because of this movie that I remembered her name. Carver too, has proved himself an excellent actor over the decades, and I thought he was quite marvellous as Ned in Elizabeth Rex (another underrated movie).
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