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A Killing in a Small Town
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Killing in a Small Town (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Tour De Force

9/10
Author: gohrush from New York, United States
25 January 2006

"Killing In A Small Town" looked every bit as ordinary as a regular made for TV fare but as the story unfolds; with the first frame of Barbara Hershey as Candice Morrison defining her sense of self to a therapist; you are instantly hooked until the end credits roll. Accused of her murderous crime in a small middle American town, Candice or Candy was initially in shock and subsequent denial. But as the horror washed over the community and all evidence point toward the mousy housewife, she starts to unravel albeit in calm revelation. Barbara Hershey is definitely one of the most underrated actress of her era, her portrayal of a strong, self- controlled, stoic yet sensitive and vulnerable woman make her a character of infinite contradiction. She pulled out all the stops in her courtroom scenes on cross examination and her hypnosis session with a doctor is unforgettably chilling. When Candice was on the stand recounting the day of the murder, the scene plays out ordinarily and then take a turn for the macabre when Peggy (victim) accused Candice of having an affair with her husband. Peggy then goes back to kitchen to fetch an axe and begins to taunt Candy. The two of them had words and then a fight ensues. Candy was desperately trying to get away but finally she turns the table and hacks Peggy over 41 timesin self defense. The entire scene was riveting like your inability to look away from a car wreck. An American tragedy played with unrelenting passion by Barbara Hershey who incidentally won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her searing performance.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A rare good TV movie!

10/10
Author: Blondie_ from California
24 October 2001

TV movies usually suck, but this is probably the best one I've seen next to "The Deliberate Stranger". What lies beneath a typical, all-American perfect PTA neighborhood-murder, mayhem, and sin! It is very shocking and suspenseful, and the ending was one of the most unpredictable and shocking I have ever seen! What is more chilling is that this is based on a true story. Barbara Hershey gives a brilliant performance.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Gut-wrenching drama, exceptionally well-made

9/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
24 May 2001

How is it a mild-mannered, small town woman can hack her best friend to death with an axe and say she's not guilty? This startling, disturbing, gripping TV-movie provides the answer in amazing fashion, thanks to Barbara Hershey's flawless acting and Stephen Gyllenhaal's taut, vivid direction (this is a director who loves molding an atmosphere for his characters, making their surroundings as perplexing and eerie as they are). The murder sequence (told well in flashback) is not sensationally presented, yet it had me glued to the screen. Hershey is further complimented by an excellent supporting cast. What an amazing job this is!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Barbara Hershey...

8/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
13 November 2006

does quite well in this film. She lives in a stark Texas town, has her children, attends church, but something is missing. She enters into an affair with her best friend's husband well-portrayed by John Terry.

Lee Garlington is her neighbor with John Terry the faithless husband. This does not wind down however, into histrionics and cheap drama. The film depicts the rage and cold anger Hershey feels, and the explosive results. Dennehey is her defense lawyer, but the courtroom segments are thankfully minimal.

The real credit goes to director Gyllenhall, who creates the Texas suburbs, showing the starkness, both of the housing developments they live in ,the small church atop a deserted hillside, and the small "Main Street USA" town this woman actually lived in. Well done.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A great performance by Barbara Hershey

9/10
Author: Normand Tremblay (zapnorm@hotmail.com) from Montréal, Canada
24 August 2002

I saw this movie since it's release in 1990, I've been amazed by the incredible performance by Miss Hershey, Brian Dennehy is very good too, I think Barbara Hershey is a very underrated actress, I just rented the Entity another of her mind-blowing performances, Killing in a small town, a small budget film but with great acting, I'm going to have to buy the video, 'cause I haven't seen it in video clubs. Thanks for your time

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A community rocked!

Author: sandra small (sandi_small@muchomail.com) from gateshead, tyne and wear, england, uk
26 January 2008

The film Evidence of Love (UK title) is contextualised within a small-town community. Within this community, their lives are prescriptive, mundane and conservative, (at least from a liberal perspective). This conservative attitude is highlighted in Evidence of Love as a destructive force as it restricts and represses natural human feelings all in the name of stability.Such conditions provide for an undercurrent of extra-marital affairs, lies, denial, and anger, culminating in a (self-defence) killing to emerge like an uncoiling spring.

As to the acting in Evidence of Love, it is a superb (some might argue stereotyped) portrayal of a mid-American suburban home - maker by Hershey. It seems that Hershey uses method acting to achieve her goal in this film. As for the directing, it comes across as very considered and intelligent. This is because the issue is handled without the histrionics that such an explosive subject matter has the potential to cause. Of course the calm direction is helped by the limited budget for the film.

The film itself exposes an interesting moot point of what is perceived as guilty. It seems in Evidence of Love that there is some confusion in the court as what constitutes 'murder'. Self defence using a gun is not considered murder, but an axe that is wielded 41 times to slay an attacker is a matter of contention is this particular murder charge.

For this moot point alone as to what constitutes self defence in a killing Evidence of Love is worth watching.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

spellbinding

10/10
Author: soneill
23 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

several cuts above the usual TV movie, this small and harrowing account of a mousy housewife rightly accused of a grisly murder will hold you spellbound. as wonderfully played by barbara hershey, the main character is a bundle of contradictions, burdened by conscience, simmering with displaced rage, ablaze with shame, justifiable in her actions but not in their ferocity. a fascinating story and a fascinating study of how permeable the thin veneer of civilization really is.

p.s. hey, guy from leeds: however detestable you find the murder, it was committed in self-defense, since the other woman was the one who introduced the ax and attempted to kill candice with it for having an affair with her husband. admittedly, candice went a bit overboard with the self-defense bit (and her guilt about it was what kept her from wanting to defend her actions), but she did NOT strike first.

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Gripping Psychodrama

7/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
21 September 2015

I don't know why actor Dennehy is pictured on the poster. True, he's got a feature role that he brings off well. But the film's really a Barbara Hershey showcase. It's she who has to do the dramatic heavy lifting, going from placid housewife to raging inner person. For the ex-Ms Seagull, it's a thespic tour-de-force. Her wife-mother seems so well adjusted, church, family, community, her smile so real. But then, she initiates an affair with a friend's husband, so we know she doesn't always repress her desires. So just how placid is she, really.

The shots of a barren Texas landscape are aptly conceived, mirroring Candy's (Hershey) unchanging demeanor, at least initially. But then her friend turns up dead, slaughtered in gruesome fashion, and we know the landscape is not as predictable as it seems. Hershey's perfect for the part, her youthful good looks beginning to fade into middle-age. Director Gyllenhaal's camera is riveted to her face, catching every nuance, in this gripping study of morbid psychology. No, I don't think the movie suits all tastes since it's really disturbing at a number of points. Still, it remains a fascinating case study, based on a factual occurrence. Too bad IMDb doesn't supply more of those factual details. Nonetheless, I'm glad to stumble across this obscure gem and it's two memorable last lines that sort of sum up the movie's ironic moral.

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Essential Barbara Hershey Viewing

10/10
Author: JLRMovieReviews from United States
8 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Barbara Hershey won a well-deserved Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for this role of a housewife, who would commit murder. Via the trial that ensues and throughout the film, we see her story. She was happily? married, until one day she admitted to a male friend, who was married, that she was attracted to him. They proceeded to have an affair, but eventually, they called it off due to his guilt and the fact they had no plans to leave their mates. Later on, his wife, who was suffering from depression, confronts her about the affair with an axe. And, Barbara Hershey defends herself. That is basically the whole spoiler and the crust of what happens in the film, except for the state of mind of Barbara's character, and why she was so repressed and emotionless in day-to-day life, save for her adultery. This still doesn't describe the experience of watching Ms. Hershey at work, which really is the whole show. Based on a true story and the book written about it, this is one TV movie, that is not your typical TV movie. You'll find yourself seeing things not usually associated with TV movies, and having strong feelings about it. Hal Holbrook, Richard Gilliland, Brian Dennehy (who's great in everything he does) and Lee Garlington costars in this riveting docudrama. (Sidebar: Lee Garlington was a great dependable supporting actress of the TV movie genre from the late 70s to the mid to late 90s, when the bulk of the TV-movie genre was being phased out.) But, while the title may sound a bit too creepy for some, please don't stay away from this movie. This is essential Barbara Hershey viewing, and one of the best movies made for television ever.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Bit Subdued

6/10
Author: Uriah43 from Amarillo, Texas
3 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I first watched this movie I was unaware that this was based on a true story. As a result I wondered why Barbara Hershey (as "Candy Morrison") allowed herself to look so plain and homely. It wasn't until afterward that I realized that she was dressing to match the look of a specific character and that this person actually looked like that in real life. What I also discovered was that this person deliberately tried to make herself look "mousey" for the trial in order to back up her story in front of the jury. At any rate, as far as the movie was concerned I thought Barbara Hershey put on an excellent performance as did Brian Dennehy (as her lawyer "Ed Reivers"). Even so this was clearly a "made-for-television" movie and as is quite often the case there were some elements which seemed a bit subdued overall. In short, while this movie definitely kept my attention I thought that there were some scenes which could have used a bit more energy or substance to them. As such I rate the film as slightly above average.

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