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Kevin J. O'Connor,
The 11-year old daughter and girlfriend of a man whose wife had been raped and killed in front of his daughter three years earlier are kidnapped by the same killer. Held captive in a bunker below Grand Central Station, the two plot their escape while the police try to track the kidnaper.Written by
Jerry Milani <email@example.com>
Film director Sean S. Cunningham moved on from his great success with "Friday the 13th" to this more mainstream Hollywood thriller. It's nothing special, but it's not without its moments and pluses. It's a pretty sordid story, to be sure (adapted from a novel by Mary Higgins Clark), and some viewers may find it repellent at times. Others should have some fun with it, although it's never all that credible.
Kate Mulgrew stars as Sharon Martin, a glamorous, big shot news reporter romantically involved with Steve Peterson (James Naughton), who's also in the news business. Two years previous, Steves' wife Nina (Joanne Dorian) had been raped and murdered in front of their horrified daughter Julie (Shawn von Schreiber). At the time, Julie had pointed the finger of guilt at a delivery guy, Ronald Thompson (James Russo), but the REAL culprit, Artie Taggart (Rip Torn), returns to extend his crime by kidnapping the two females and holding them for ransom in the vast and dingy areas beneath Grand Central Station.
Cunningham brought along some of his F13 collaborators for this show, like casting directors Julie Hughes & Barry Moss, production designer Virginia Field, and cinematographer Barry Abrams. They do their best when capturing the sinister, overwhelming atmosphere of the underground settings. Suspense is minimal, but there is some violence here and there without much in the way of gore (for which, I'm sure, "Friday the 13th" detractors were grateful). One interesting moment has us manipulated into rooting for Rip when a gang of punks attack him in a public washroom, despite the fact that he's a VERY bad bad guy. The effective music score is courtesy of reliable veteran Lalo Schifrin.
Rip is typically amusing in the villain role, and Mulgrew and young von Schreiber are appealing enough to maintain rooting interest. Much of the supporting cast is rather nondescript, but Naughton is good as the father, as is Barbara Baxley as a homeless woman. William Hickey and Vincent Spano can be seen in small parts.
Screenplay credited to Earl Mac Rauch and "Friday the 13th" scribe Victor Miller.
Six out of 10.
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