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This Comment does contain mild spoilers!!!
"A Killer Upstairs" is a decent TV movie. The plot is: When Vivian Jamison (Jayne Heitmeyer) is murdered, all fingers point to her lover Michael Nowlin (Christopher Jacot), His mom Sandra (Tracy Nelson) is trying to prove her son is innocent, but the police won't listen. Is the killer still out there?
At first the movie is riddled with bad acting,(Barry Flatman as Mr. Jamison) but eventually the movie picks up speed and it gets better. It does have some good twists and turns. Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Nelson, and Linden Ashby put in good performances. Overall, it's worth seeing if you are looking for a satisfactory mystery.
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A very good film with a major surprise twist describes "A Killer
Tracy Nelson, unfortunately, is not very believable as the mother. You see absolutely no emotion shown. True, she believes that her emotionally disturbed son is innocent of murder, but at least she should act the part out at least by showing she is distraught.
Instead, she goes vigilante and gets lucky.
What saves this film is the surprise ending. The twist that occurs really makes sense when you think of it.
An old Bruce Boxleitner stars as a know-it-all detective. At least, he admits how wrong he was at the end.
Don't always lie for your children. A time will come when the police will not believe you.
This is made for television. Maybe the kind of entertaining low budget thriller that is being left behind, for glossier entertainments but it caught my attention and held it for the whole film, that is very unusual these days! The simplicity and clarity of the acting, and the lack of posturing, ambiguity were refreshing. We care about the characters, especially the mother, I couldn't help thinking that is believable that is wonderful what she is doing for her son, even if I thought he was guilty. The writing and directing were like clockwork, perfect as far as I am concerned. Its been a long time since I sat through a movie. The mother played by Tracey Nelson was super ( she happens to be the daughter of the late great singing star Ricky Nelson) Hey I could cynically say this is a formula made for TV but I call it good entertainment.
Poor acting, not well researched for location, an actor (the judge) mispronounced names of a city located in Pennsylvania (lancaster) where the movie takes place. One of the actors goes to a Liqour Store in the movie at 9 pm and is there till 10 pm when all stores of this nature are run by the state and close a 8 pm in the state of PA. some unbelievable crap and i do mean crap occurs in this movie which are outrageous and totally unbelievable. The story line: A model is having an affair with a 17 year old high school student, she breaks up with him and ends up dead. all clues lead to the high school student. no one believes him or his mother so it is up to her to figure out who really killed the model if anyone. there are some OK plot twists in the movie but for the most part it is OK for a made for TV movie made in Canada.
These Lifetime movies move at such a snail's pace that you can tune in
anytime and not miss much actual plot. They set up a good case for
murder and then plod along to fill out a two-hour program length.
A KILLER UPSTAIRS at least has one thing to recommend it--a good final twist for the end of the mystery behind a woman's death at the hands of a spurned lover. But getting to those final fifteen minutes of exposition takes patience because the central characters are not at all likable.
Part of this has to be due to the main performance by Tracey Nelson, the mother with the staring eyes and the whining voice. It's a one-note portrayal of a mother anxious to clear her son of false charges. Christopher Jacot is the son with the haunted look in his eyes, a hurt expression summing up his reaction at being falsely accused. There's not much else he can do with a thankless role.
What's really surprising is how weak Bruce Boxleitner is as the cocky detective who never believes a word the mother says. He looks bored (true, it's another thankless role), and nothing more. Nor are any of the other participants likely to be up for Emmy nominations.
Loopholes in the script are plentiful when it comes to character motivation. And a scene at the local liquor store where the mother is pleading with a worker to tell the truth, comes across as highly unbelievable in view of the fact that neither notices the criminal listening intently to their every word.
Only one thing is sure: the final revelations do come as a surprise, but by that time will anyone care?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS**** Totally unbelievable story about a 17 year old car
washer Michael Nowlin, Chis Jacot, who's used as a toy boy by one of
his clients the sexy ex-fashion model Vive Jameson, Jayne Heitmeyer,
who after a number of romps in the hey or bed gets tired of him and
throws the love-sick Michael out of the house. Throwing a fit or vase
against the wall Michael storms out and ends up getting drunk as he
drive back home to his widowed mom's Sandra Nowlin's, Tracy Nelson,
place to sleep it off.
It's the very next day at the breakfast table as his mom demands to know where a by then sobered up Michael was out that late at night that the news of Vive's murder is broadcast on the morning TV news! Working in a car dealership in town Vive was one of Sandar's clients and both her and Michael knew her quite well! In fact it was Michael who was going to Vive's place late at night, after school, for the last two months to wash her car. As it turned out he was also working off the books by having an affair with her.
It didn't take long for the local police represented by detectives Bruning & Feria, Bruce Boxleitner & Lorraine Ansell, to sniff out the truth about Michael's activities that fateful evening in that it was determined by the police pathologist that the murdered Vive had sex that evening with the person who ended up killing her! And that person, surprise surprise, according to the DNA evidence at the murder scene was non other then Michael Nowlin!
The movie goes into high gear with Sandra doing the detective work that both Det. Bruning & Feria were either to lazy or incompetent to do by tracking down Vive's killer as her son, who already has a past criminal record, Michael is facing the rest of his life behind bars if convicted in Vive's murder. It takes a while but Sandra does in fact find a number of important clues that lead to a local liquor store when Michael despite being under age was sold a bottle of booze at the very time that Vive was murdered!
***SPOILERS*** In Sandra trying to get the counterman Johnny, Luigi Saracino,to come clean and tell the cops and the D.A's office that Michael is innocent by him not being at the murder scene he's gunned down by Vive's killer who just happened to be at the store checking out the wine cellar! Now with evidence of her son's innocence by her tracking down, at Ace's Pawnshop, a gold bracelet that Vive's killer hocked Sandra is now in danger of being murdered herself by him!
***SPOILER ALERT*** It's at he very end of the movie that we finally get our moneys worth in who's really behind Vive's murder. This all comes out in the wash, of the Jameson family's dirty laundry, when we realize that it all had to do with a hit-job contracted on her by someone Vive's would have never suspected. This person had it in for her for years in being responsible for her moms untimely death from over-drinking.
It was Vive's husband David Jameson, Barry Flatman, who was completely blindsided by his wife's murderer and accused Michael for it that got the surprise of his life not only when his wife's killer reveled himself but who put him up to it! And even worst of all how Vive took him for a fool and sucker all these years that in the end, in her overreaching herself, backfired on her!
About a mother who tries to save her son from murder. Plot is predictable and acting poor. Even with the likes of Bruce Boxlieter. Won''t go into the plot except to say its a good pop corn movies. That means you can leave the room anytime and not miss much. I have in the past critiqued the acting of Tracey Nelson. Daughter of Rick, she obviously didn't inherit any of his talent. She has an annoying pout and high whiny voice that grates on your nerves. A mature woman who sounds like Shirly Temple. Her hair is stringy, and hanging in her face most of the time. But mainly her acting is amateurish and boring. You don't believe her for a second. Sorry.
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