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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  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

14 September 2005 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

(Some Spoilers) Updated version of "Rebel Without a Cause" with a teenage looking Melissa Gilbert as doctor/psychiatrist Lisa DaVito playing the James Dean part. There's also a moody and manic depressive Fernando Lopez as the troubled youth, Freddy Zomora. Freddy is headed for destruction in the part very similar to that of Sal Mineo in that classic about America's troubled youth in the 1950's.

Young Freddy has been going downhill ever since his mother died three years ago and has become not only a danger to those around him but also to himself. After attacking his cousin for using his after shave lotion Freddy is brought, in a straitjacket, to the Elmira Mental hospital for evaluation and treatment for his wild and uncontrollable outbursts.

At the hospital Dr. DaVio is assigned to Freddy and sees that his mental problems can be straightened out if he gets the right treatment and medication. But the hospital's director Dr. Butler, Lane Smith, pressures Dr. DaVito to declare Freddy fit to be out in society. It's that Freddy not having medical insurance was a financial burden and Dr. Butler wanted to save the hospital money by not giving him the medical attention,that he so desperately needed. Back out on the street Freddy at first tries to get a job, any job, to be able to support himself. But he slowly descends back into the depressive state that he was in before he was put under Dr. DaVito's care.

Not taking his medication an unstable Freddy is later confronted by Dr. DaVito who tries to get him to re-admit himself back into Elmaria Hospital but by then he's too long gone for any help from her or anyone ease. Working at a diner washing dishes Freddy gets into a fight with the owner and runs him through with a kitchen knife killing him. Now a fugitive from the law and wanted for murder Freddy's actions falls right on the head of Dr. Davito for being responsible for signing his release. Getting in touch with her friend at Elmira and hospital attorney Charlie Long ,Woodly Harrelson, to find Freddy before he ends up being killed Dr. DaVito goes to see Elmira' director Dr. Butler. Dr. DiVeto is shocked to find out that he put her on suspension for doing what he pressured her to do: sign Freddy's release papers.

Like all persons in high places Dr. Butler passes the buck on to poor Dr. DaVito who's feeling sick over what Freddy's done and what may happen to him, when the police catch up with Freddy, What Dr. DiVeto so desperately tried to prevent. Freddy seeing on the TV at a local diner Dr. Butler put the blame on his friend and psychiatrist Dr. DaVto for what happened realizes that he has to put thing right in exonerating her for his actions. The movie ends with Freddy doing just that but at a terrible cost.

Better then average made for TV movie with a hell of a performance by newcomer Freanando Lopez as the troubled and doomed Freddy Zomora who ended up being another victim, together with those he victimized. Freddy who was turned away from the help that he needed ended up a casualty, one of thousands, to a society who's indifferent to those it's supposed to look after helped spawn many like himself .

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