Shattered Silence (1972)

SHATTERED SILENCE (1972)
(a.k.a. WHEN MICHAEL CALLS)
Article #1627 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-28-2005
Posting Date: 1-25-2006
Directed by Philip Leacock
Featuring Ben Gazzara, Elizabeth Ashley, Michael Douglas

A divorcee begins receiving phone calls from her nephew Michael, who died fifteen years ago.

Despite a certain predictability to the proceedings, this isn’t bad for TV-Movie horror thriller; despite the cliches, it does an acceptable job of trotting out the thrills. It’s pretty easy to figure out if you follow the simple rule – “Whenever you watch a movie about a mysterious homicidal murderer whose identity is supposed to be a secret, make sure to pay close attention to whichever cast member is credited as ‘Special Guest Star’.”‘ This is also one of those movies where the psycho acts perfectly normal until the scene where you’re supposed to figure out he’s the psycho, and then acts crazy for the rest of the movie.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me get down to my real business today – reviewing the blurb on the back of the DVD. And I quote –

“SHATTERED SILENCE is a story of a torrid romance that takes on suspenseful overtones as Michael Douglas and the irresistible Elizabeth Ashley are driven to desire in this shocking love triangle. What sets out to be a romantic love affair, with Michael Douglas (Craig) using his irresistible charm to capture the heart of Elizabeth Ashley (Helen), becomes a triangle of horror and sheer terror as the son Helen believed she has lost 15 years ago returns to terrorize her acquaintances.”

Some observations –

“Torrid” and “shocking love triangle” – Just how torrid can an 1972 TV-Movie be? Well, I think Michael Douglas kisses Elizabeth Ashley on the forehead once. He does this not because he’s her lover; it’s because he’s her nephew! And no, this movie does not deal with incest; the fact of the matter is that there is no romance between Douglas and Ashley, and consequently, no triangle. So why did the blurb-writer claim there was? My guess was to make you buy it in the hopes of seeing something like FATAL ATTRACTION.

“..as the son Helen believed she lost 15 years ago…” – The last part of the blurb is the only part that is even remotely accurate, and even this gets it wrong; Michael is not her son, but her nephew.

Moral: Never trust a blurb writer.

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