Article 4580 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by William Wiard
Featuring Suzanne Pleshette, Barry Newman, Robert Vaughn
What it is: Thriller
Actors in a soap opera are being knocked off by a serial killer. Who is the killer, and why are they doing this?
Easily the best moment in this TV-Movie is the ending, and I don’t mean by that the resolution of the story line. I mean there’s a final little “perception change” (I can’t quite call it a twist) in the last few seconds of the movie. This moment manages to effectively underline the basic theme of the movie, which is how a TV show or a movie can become so real to some people that they lose grasp that the show is an illusion; there’s an earlier scene that also illustrates this where one of the actresses in the show is accosted by a stranger in a grocery store who treats her like she’s the character she’s playing. I wish the rest of the movie was that intriguing, but, in truth, I find that for the most part it’s one of those movies where competence and professionalism take the place of inspiration; there’s something utterly mundane in the way the movie trots out the usual red herrings and plot contrivances, though it doesn’t necessarily do them badly. Quite frankly, this is a movie that could have used a few more real surprises to make it really good. The serial killer plot is what makes it marginal horror.