Deadly Innocents

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“Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

deadlyAfter shooting her husband, Beth (Crosby) is sent to the funny farm, due to her split personality, Cathy, who was responsible for the murder. Busting out of the funny farm after Cathy takes full control, she holes up in a gas station, run by Angela (Wyss), who is almost as loopy, albeit in a less murderous way, having been raised by her religious fruitcake father, who just passed away. Cathy/Beth’s resemblance to Angela’s late mother helps cement a relationship between the two women. Initially, it may all be frilly dresses, make-up and feminine bonding, as the newcomer brings the repressed young girl out of her shell. But how long will it be before Cathy is stabbing customers in the neck with syringes? [That’s almost guaranteed to get you a poor Yelp review: “while restrooms were clean, the murderous assault by a deranged member of staff was somewhat off-putting”]

Meanwhile, a local cop (Stevens) is courting Angela, and a local retard (Hellman) – hey, you watch the film and tell me that’s not the most accurate description – is exercising her investigative skills, which appear to be at least the equal of the local force. It’s the kind of the overblown Southern melodrama that’s basically begging for a drag queen singalong version; maybe a remake starring Gina Gershon as Cathy, or at least, Jennifer Tilly. Instead, however, we’ve got to make do with Bing Crosby’s daughter, who admittedly, probably knows a bit about controlling fathers. Here, the main takeaway is a new-found respect for Andy Serkis’s portrayal of Gollum, because watching Crosby switch between Beth and Cathy is cringeworthy. Fortunately, the makers appear to realize it, with this aspect all but abandoned once she escapes the mental hospital, and Crosby makes for an entertainingly loony tune.

However, there isn’t actually much, in content or execution, which will stick in your mind – between a couple of bits of gratuitous nudity, this feels for long periods more like a TV movie, or something you’d find on the Hallmark channel. I did quite like the ending, which I’ll confess didn’t see coming, and is darker than I expected. However, too much of this comes over as watered-down, without the courage of any convictions, and it needed to go a good deal further into the realms of madness, to possess any lasting value.

Dir: John D. Patterson.
Star: Mary Crosby, Amanda Wyss, Andrew Stevens, Bonnie Hellman

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