Yet another serial killer's out there and he leaves his trail of mutilated, clueless corpses in the town's nearby woods. Writers Robert Nathan (not the late author of "Portrait of Jenny" et al.) and Robert Rosenblum, basing their draggy script on their own book penned under a pseudonym, have concocted a damsel-in-distress tale in which lady's up to her neck in suspects. Not helped by Charles Correll's uninspired direction, "In the Deep Woods" meanders from point A to point B to scare; by point C it reaps a yawn.

Yet another serial killer’s out there and he leaves his trail of mutilated, clueless corpses in the town’s nearby woods. Writers Robert Nathan (not the late author of “Portrait of Jenny” et al.) and Robert Rosenblum, basing their draggy script on their own book penned under a pseudonym, have concocted a damsel-in-distress tale in which lady’s up to her neck in suspects. Not helped by Charles Correll’s uninspired direction, “In the Deep Woods” meanders from point A to point B to scare; by point C it reaps a yawn.

The mysterious killer, using darkened parking lots to erase successful single women, touches the life of attractive children’s book creator Rosanna Arquette when he kills a friend of hers.

Suspects begin piling up at a ludicrous rate: fed agent Will Patton, a doltish type who takes a shine to her; her brother Chris Rydell, successful businessman who’s happily married and about to become a daddy; his associate D.W. Moffett, charmer who delights Arquette despite Rydell’s warnings; and sinister, raincoated P.I. Anthony Perkins, armed with a parade of lies.

Folks do dumb things. Arquette tells everyone except her brother that he’s a serious suspect; she walks alone into scary Perkins’ house at his invitation; Patton sneaks up behind Arquette and grabs her shoulder to give viewers a jump. Lots of that goes on as the too-long plot trudges along, though director Correll does build some moments of suspense.

Perkins distinguishes himself as the mysterious male stalking Arquette and, despite the blatant plotting, Arquette ably acquits herself as the heroine. Moffet manages to give his role some credibility and Amy Ryan as Rydell’s wife is good. But most of the actors turn in wobbly perfs in the wearying fright drama.

James Glennon’s camerawork is on target and Mark W. Rosenbaum’s editing is superior.

Nbc Monday Night at the Movies in the Deep Woods

(Mon. (26), 9-11 p.m., NBC-TV)

Production

Filmed in San Diego by Frederic Golchan Prods. in association with Leonard Hill Films. Exec producers, Joel Fields, Ron Gilbert, Frederic Golchan, Leonard Hill; director, Charles Correll; writers, Robert Nathan, Robert Rosenblum; based on book by Nicholas Conde.

Crew

Camera, James Glennon; editor, Mark W. Rosenbaum; sound, Jay Patterson; music, Sylvester Levay; production designer, Jonathan Carlson.

Cast

Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Anthony Perkins, Will Patton, D.W. Moffett, Chris Rydell, Amy Ryan, Beth Broderick, Harold Sylvester, Kimberly Beck, Paul Perri, Greg Kean, Ned Bellamy, Mary Gregory, David Grant Wright, Ava Lazar, Donalee Wood, Rochelle Swanson, D.J. Sullivan, Mik Scriba, Virginia Hawkins, Shirley Saunders, Ellen Dubin, Elizabeth Soukup, Kevin O'Neill, Spike Sorrentino, Steve Tom, Janet Haley.
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