6.6/10
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8 user 1 critic

Death Dreams (1991)

Not Rated | | Thriller | TV Movie 25 June 1991
Despite her husband's doubts, a woman reaches out to her dead daughter with a psychiatrist's help.

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(novel), (teleplay)
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Cast

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George Dickerson ...
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Cec Verrell ...
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Robert Ward ...
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Wendell J. Grayson ...
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Storyline

Crista thinks that she has a great life, beautiful daughter Jennie, and perfect new husband George. Then Jennie tragically drowns and everything starts going downhill when she finds out that George was involved in her death. Written by Harun Mehmedinovic <Pkojovic@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 June 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anklage aus dem Jenseits  »

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(PFL)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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23 February 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Crista Westfield (Marg Helgenberger) is the wife of Wall Street investment broker George (Christopher Reeve) living in Connecticutt with Jennii (Taylor Fry), the 7 year old daughter from Crista's first marriage. When Jennii is found drowned in their home pond, everyone assumes that it is an accident but after Crista has a car crash, where she is clinically dead for 6 minutes, she begins to have visions of Jennii. Dissatisfied with the doctors George takes her to, Crista seeks out Dr Margaret Neuberger (Fionnula Flanagan) in New York, who helps her discover what really happened.

Helgenberger is dressed in expensive clothes as a wealthy wife, in particular a purple velvet evening dress for her 1 year anniversary party, and at times she looks very beautiful, but at other times she is ravaged by director Martin Donovan's close-ups and unflattering lighting. She has a sex scene with George where the most attention is paid to her back, and she uses the remnants of a mid-western accent. When George finds Crista with Dr Neuberger and raves angrily, Helgenberger stands in a corner listening to him and breathing, and her reaction to a hostile defence attorney is to not give any eye contact and squirm in embarrassment. Although there are times when Crista is in psychological pain, Helgenberger never makes us feel that Crista is `mad' - we believe her belief.

The teleplay by Robert Glass, based on the novel by William Katz, has Dr Neuberger tell Crista that her soul has stayed with Jennii when Crista was clinically dead, which explains the connection, and Donovan's representation of Jennii with golden light, her distorted voice and the sound of wings is more tolerable than his grab bag of other tricks. We never do find out why Jennii is killed, apart from a vague reference to `spin control', and George being described as having a `pathological need to dominate'. Reeves' anger somewhat telegraphs the case to be made against George, but a response to Crista's `My husband has no reason to kill me' is Dr Neuberger's funny `Then he's a very unusual husband'.

Subjective camera, slow motion, tilted camera, quick pans, split screen, heartbeats on the soundtrack, and dissolves all draw attention to style and not the content. Flanagan's attempt to make Neuberger charmingly eccentric doesn't quite work, and the conclusion has a rather unsatisfying ambiguity.


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