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***SPOILERS*** Convaluted suspense drama that gets more and more confusing as it goes along with a conclusion that had to be inserted in since it makes no real sense at all to what you saw up until then. Being a member of this secret society headed by reclusive and weird high-power attorney William Ashbury, James Spader, young Harrison France, Matthew Davis, learns right away what is needed for him to belong to that secretive group; Ashbury having the goods on you and using them to make you do whatever he want's you to do.
Having trouble paying off the mortgage and also having a big real-estate deal fall through Harrison is up sh*t's creek with him too embarrassed to ask his father-in-law Congressman Henderson (Peter Coyote), also a member of this secret society, for help. Driving home in a rain storm Harrison hit's this stranger on a lonely country road and finds out that he killed him.
Panic-stricken Harrison pulls the dead body off the deserted road and hides it in the brush as he drives home feeling that whatever happened is between him and his conscience and no one else; until the next morning when he sees the news. A bank robbery took place the day before and two men got away with $200,000.00 but the bank security camera video taped one of the robbers who was dressed,in a black hood and leather jacket, a lot like the person that he ran over the previous evening.
Realizing that he must have run down one of the the robbers of the bank Harrison goes back to the underbrush where he hid the strangers body and finds a sack with the stolen $200,000.00 in it. Burying the robbers clothes on his property it's later dug up by his dog Shane, William Shakesbear, which alerts Harrison's wife Wynn, Robin Tunney, in thinking that it somehow has to do with the bank robbery! Also that Harrison, being in debt and desperate for quick cash, may have been involved in it; later Wynn throws it, the dug up clothes, off a local bridge into the river.
It's now when the story takes a very strange turn when it's discovered that the person that Harrison killed is, after DNA tests proved it beyond a doubt, non-other then Chris Henderson Harrison's brother-in-law a local town junkie and petty criminal. It's then when things starts to get bizarre for Harrison with Ashbury coming to his aid to help even though he never told him anything about his accident.
Harrison took the $200,000.00 and put it in a bus station locker but Ashbury had him photographed doing it where he could use the photos to blackmail him. Picked up by the police, who Ashbury obviously tipped off, poor Harrison is interrogated by Det. Schfield, Aidan Quinn. Just when it looked like he was going to crack and confess for Chris' death or murder as well as the armed robbery of the bank Schfield's boss chief Webb, John Grant Philips, comes into the interrogation room and tells Harrison that he can go free. There Ashbury again came to Harrison's rescue by getting this pasty Patrick Treadway a homeless drunk and drifter to go to the bus locker and take out the money, or half of it,out and have him photographed! Showing that Harrison had nothing to do with the bank robbery or Chris' death!
Now if you think that the movie was strange up until then it gets even stranger when Harrison later being at a social gathering, with his wife and father-in-law, goes up to Ashbury's suite in the hotel where the gathering was taking place. there he finds that Chris Henderson, whom he though he killed in a road accident and hid his body, is really alive and staying with Ashbury in his hotel room! Then who did he, or did not, kill that dark rainy evening?
The film completely falls apart after that in trying to make Harrison French into some kind of avenger and have him concoct this unbelievable plan to turn the tables on the conniving Ashbury and have him face the music that he forced him and all the other members of his weird society to face all these years.
The ending taking place on the same road, and even in a likewise rain storm, where all the troubles for Harrison began in the movie is so outrageous that you wonder if "Shadow of Fear" wasn't really meant to be a comedy instead of a suspense drama and that the real story got lost during the final rushes and editing of the film.
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