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A young man has just been admitted to a mental hospital after attempting suicide at a public beach. Unable to remember even his own name, the doctors call him John Doe #83. Soon after his arrival, the doctor assigned to him begins seeing and hearing things around her that have no explanation. Soon she beings to make the terrifying connection between the things she's seeing and her new patient. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Whether you want to categorize THE SENDER as a thriller, horror or sci-fi film, it makes for a rather strong movie in any genre. The plot centers on a doctor/patient relationship between amnesiac John Doe (Zeljko Ivanek) and Dr. Gail (Kathryn Harrold). Kathryn Harrold, as the good doctor, goes to bat for the young amnesiac when her colleague, Paul Freeman, wants to administer electro-shock therapy. But Harrold feels she can reach him without the questionable treatment. Little does she know that everyone, not just herself, can reach him for he is a gifted, yet troubled young man, who has the ability of telepathy.
Images are sent to Harrold via Ivanek which allows her to piece together his past. When John Doe's mother (Knight) meets with Kathryn Harrold, more pieces fall into place, but mother might have ulterior motives. Mother, also, might be a figment of her imagination or another of Ivanek's projected false images. The film focuses on Kathryn Harrold trying to set things in order and thus place the troubled mind of Ivanek at ease.
STORY: $$$ (The story has its strengths and weaknesses. I was quite shocked at how readily Paul Freeman's character accepts Harrold's theory of telepathy before proof is given. If he had any reservations, he became a full believer after the great electro-shock scene. There are numerous biblical references which some viewers will find off-putting, but there isn't any open bashing of Christianity, just the typical subtle Hollywood questioning of faith. Shirley Knight is a religious freak who viewed her gifted child as a reincarnation of Christ and there is a mental patient at Harrold's hospital that calls himself The Messiah).
ACTING: $$$$ (The acting is quite strong. Zeljko Ivanek was cast because he has a natural woebegone appearance with his droopy-dog facial features and Edgar Allen Poe eyes. Appearances aside, the young man gives a very good performance. Kathryn Harrold is very strong in the female lead, giving us a convincing performance as a shrink dedicated to human understanding and not radical treatments. She excels with a rather demanding role that forces her to play a strong-minded woman who must question the integrity of her thoughts when Ivanek begins to bombard her with mental images. Shirley Knight does a fine job in her subdued role while Paul Freeman has little to do but assist Kathryn).
SEXUALITY: $$ (There is no nudity in this film--it has a strong story and doesn't need flesh to gather viewers. Be that as it may, Kathryn Harrold gives a quality come-hither performance, never once shedding her clothes though, proving that an actress can be sexy without going nude. The first images she receives are at night, at her home, as she believes a burglar has intruded into her house. Kathryn wears a thin v-neck shirt in bed with, quite obviously, nothing on underneath. Those with a caboose fetish will like the scene when she reaches to secure a window and her backside is fully exposed.
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