tek's rating:

Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?, on NBC
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Caution: spoilers.

This first aired in 1996. I must have been aware of it, at the time, but had no interest in it. I would have been watching stuff on another channel, besides which it sounded way too movie of the week for my tastes. And the title would have been another reason not to watch the movie. Such a terrible title. But that's what made it such a memorable title. And I guess it sort of became a cult classic (via reruns on Lifetime); my guess as to why would be partly because of the bad title, and maybe because it's a bad movie. However, I never actually knew whether I'd consider it a bad movie or not, nor did I really know anything at all about the plot. But in 2016, Lifetime aired a campy remake with a supernatural twist. I couldn't watch that because I didn't have access to Lifetime, but it sounded like something I'd like to see... though I felt that I should see the original, first. And in 2019, I bought a double feature DVD of both TV movies. And... now that I've finally watched the original, I don't think it was terrible. I wouldn't exactly call it a good movie, but it has serious subject matter.

So, it begins with a young woman (I think a high school girl, actually) named Erin, being dropped off at her house by a guy named Kevin Shane (who was also driving a couple other people). It's obvious that Erin has a romantic interest in Kevin, though she's not sure if he likes her that way. Meanwhile, she's been dating a guy named Billy Jones, with whom she wants to break up. And when he shows up at her house... it quickly becomes obvious that he's a total creep who confuses his obsession with Erin for love. When she rejects him, he hits her over the head several times, with like a wooden cutting board, or something, I dunno. I wasn't sure whether or not she was dead, but I doubted it, because I thought she was played by Tori Spelling, who was the star of the movie. And the movie later shows Tori's character, Laurel Lewisohn, at college, and I thought she was the same character (because I hadn't really caught Erin's name in the opening scene). So I was confused about a lot of things, throughout the movie. Most notably, Laurel was dating Kevin Shane... or so she thought. It's a long time before anyone in the movie learns that "Kevin" is actually Billy. (So yeah, I'm terrible at both remembering names and recognizing faces. It is totally my bad that I didn't recognize him, and thought he was actually Kevin, whose face I don't think was ever clearly seen in the opening scene.) The fact that Kevin turned out to be a totally obsessive creep, I just chalked up to there being a lot of obsessive creeps in the world. But what confused me was how Laurel could have failed to recognize Billy, much less think he was Kevin, whom she obviously knew fairly well. (I suppose it could have been brain damage from the bludgeoning, but of course the truth was that Laurel was not Erin. It's shocking just how long it took me to realize that.)

Anyway... Billy had assumed Kevin's identity. And despite almost constantly acting like a totally obsessive, possessive creep, Laurel ignored a ridiculous number of glaring red flags about him. Before long, Laurel introduces "Kevin" to her mother, Jessica (who was divorced or widowed, I forget which). Eventually, "Kevin" tries to turn Laurel against her mother, by convincing her she was trying to break them up. (It didn't help matters that Laurel already thought her mother was too controlling.) Jessica soon becomes suspicious of "Kevin," and looks into some of the claims he'd made about himself, which turn out to be lies. But telling that to Laurel only seems to confirm that what he'd told her about her mother was true. Eventually, Jessica gets some information about Kevin/Billy from a police detective named Sandy Unger, who had previously investigated the disappearance of Erin, in which Billy was a suspect, I guess.

Um, eventually Laurel realizes "Kevin" is some kind of psychopath, and tries several times to get away from him, without much success. (Partly because she keeps making foolish mistakes.) Meanwhile, Jessica tries to find out where Billy has taken her daughter. And she does find them, because Billy also made a couple of foolish mistakes.

So, anyway... I don't know what else to tell you. I think the movie could have been much better if it had been better written. It's supposed to be a thriller, and I guess technically it qualifies as such. But it's hard to take any of it quite as seriously as the subject matter warrants. Also, I was kind of disappointed that there was no one in the movie named "Danger," and that no one ever asked their mother if they could sleep with him. Still, I'm not disappointed that I've finally seen the movie, and I look forward to watching the remake, sometime soon.

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