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Terrifying Worst-Case Scenario
This is one of the scariest films I've ever seen. It's one of the best in the disaster film genre, light years better than anything that Irwin Allen ever did. It involves scientists studying and then warning of an impending volcanic eruption of Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park. The script was logical and completely believable, and the special effects were well-done. My only complaint was that the acting was mediocre, but the actors are not the primary focus of attention. This is clearly something that could happen in real life. However, it's important to know that what's displayed in this film is the worst possible thing that could happen, and several factors would have to come together for the events in this film to become a reality.
Femme Fatale (1991)
Awful script ruins a clever idea
As I sat in front of the TV watching this movie, I thought, "Oh, what Alfred Hitchcock, or even Brian DePalma, could have done with this!" Chances are, you will too. It does start out intrigueing. A British park ranger living in Los Angeles (Collin Firth) marries a pretty, demure brunette woman (Lisa Zane) whom he met in a park only a short time ago. Then, one day she dissappears. The police are unable to find any documentation that she ever existed, and Firth conducts his own search. So far, so good. Just as he's about to give up, he turns to his womanizing best friend (Billy Zane), and they stumble onto her former life in L.A.'s sordid underground of drugs, nightclubs, and ametuer filmmaking, and then to her history of mental instability. At that point, Firth's life is in danger, and the film falls apart. None of the characters from Lisa Zane's past are remotely interesting. The film moves slowly, and there's very little action. There is a subplot regarding missing drug money, but it's just a throwaway. No chases, no cliffhanging sequences, and no suspense. Just some dull beatings and a lot of chat by boring characters. One thing worth noting, Lisa Zane and Billy Zane are brother and sister, but they never appear in a scene together. By the end of the movie, you're torn between wondering what might have been and trying to stay awake.
Begins very well, then falls apart
This film looked so promising in the trailers. And the first hour more than lives up to the promise. The rainstorm, cheap motel, remote desert locations, and offbeat characters with secrets to hide make for a suspenseful horror-mystery. The use of the hotel room keys was a clever device. The cast does well. John Cusack is compelling in his first horror film, and Ray Liotta is well-cast as a seemingly inept policeman. And the sultry Amanda Peets makes the most of her character. She is not a mindless sex object, helpless damsel-in-distress, or an invulnerable superwoman, but a frightened yet determined woman doing her best to stay alive. In addition, Rebecca DeMornay shows a terrific sence of humor and self-parody as a snooty, washed-up actress who stumbles into the confusion. But just as the film seems to be nearing an exciting climax, it takes a disastrous wrong turn. It becomes a dull psychological courtroom drama that undermines everything that has happened. Suspense and interest in the characters goes out the window, and the closing scene is especially flat-footed and dumb. What a waste of an hour of good storytelling!