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Killer Instinct (1988)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  22 November 1988 (USA)
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Woody Harrelson stars in the story of psychiatrist Lisa DaVito and her battle to save a tortured man whose past has turned him to violence. One tragic incident seals his fate and shakes Lisa's faith in her profession.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Lisa DaVito
Charlie Long
Lane Smith ...
Dr. Butler
Dr. Steven Nelson
Fernando López
Roy Brocksmith
Michael Kaufman ...
Dr. Purney
Nurse Stoddard
Garn Stephens ...
Nat Bernstein ...
Dr. Felzer
Mr. Martin


Woody Harrelson stars in the story of psychiatrist Lisa DaVito and her battle to save a tortured man whose past has turned him to violence. One tragic incident seals his fate and shakes Lisa's faith in her profession.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

22 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadly Observation  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

As A Whole It Contains All Necessary Ingredients Of Soap Opera.
29 September 2005 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

With its plot details and production characteristics parroted, to say the least, from the soap opera genre, this film made for television has a tired feeling to it, and any energy created by the players appears to be flat and lacking essence. For the medical programmer based in a New York City's psychiatric ward (presented in a quaintly unrealistic manner), top billing goes to Melissa Gilbert as Lisa DaVito, a freshman psychiatrist completing her residency there, and whose career and private life are muddled by a young Puerto Rican patient, Freddie Zamora (Fernando López), whose particular dysfunction leads him to commit extremely violent acts against others. After Freddie physically attacks his cousin with whom he shares a bedroom, he is brought to the hospital by police who have abstained from booking him for assault because his family members will not file charges, and he is placed under the care of Dr. DaVito, who plainly becomes obsessed with her new charge, as indicated in scenes of absurd gaucherie. The more that Lisa becomes involved with the new case of her unbalanced patient, the less likely that her live-in physician boyfriend, in a thin characterization by Kevin Conroy, is apt to be pleased with their own relationship, and this therefore presents an opportunity for the clinic's in-house patients rights attorney, played by Woody Harrelson, to foster a relationship with Lisa, whom he fancies. The most interesting portion of the storyline comes from the obvious risk of releasing agitated Freddie back into the outside world, with his proclivity for violence merely muted by his totally voluntary intake of prescribed depressants, but even this dramatic potential is shun of style and pace by torpid direction and choppy editing. Titled KILLER INSTINCT for video distribution, the drab affair is freighted by a screenplay that is predictable throughout , and with chronic sound problems that often result in dialogue being drowned during outdoor filming by street traffic noise. Gilbert is most effectual when not performing in unconvincing domestic interludes with her beau, while Harrelson is, as is his wont, a cipher, and the playing of López loses its main chance of believability, as with most of the cast, due to the hackneyed writing that only worsens up to and including the ridiculous final moments.

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