Poor, four-times-widowed Jane Seymour is up her to lovely neck in murder for the fifth time as she wipes out her groom on the first night of their honeymoon. It has to do with parental behavior, with trying to keep a marriage at its peak and with self-worth; it hasn't much to do with horse sense.

Poor, four-times-widowed Jane Seymour is up her to lovely neck in murder for the fifth time as she wipes out her groom on the first night of their honeymoon. It has to do with parental behavior, with trying to keep a marriage at its peak and with self-worth; it hasn’t much to do with horse sense.

Seymour, having dished up cyanide for her latest hubby, goes after wealthy bookshop owner Barry Bostwick, widower with a teenage son and — whoops! — a sister-in-law (Frances Fisher) who spots Seymour as a phony right away.

As he wines, dines and beds her, Bostwick’s gullibility presumably is part of his charm; actually, he just seems thick. Fisher keeps finding fault, and Bostwick’s son (Chad Allen) isn’t taken with Seymour either. But Seymour has two things to help her along: her persuasive charms that work on Bostwick and her cyanide.

It’s a tired formula drama whose attraction is, of course, how Seymour will be stopped. Writers William Delligan and Duane Poole don’t bother with innuendo; they set up the unlikely action and director James Keach tries getting mileage from the idea.

The artifice of Seymour’s character begins to grate, and her mad scenes are just this side of a twitch. Shoehorning in two more killings, she aims for a third, but there’s little if any suspense.

Bostwick strolls accommodatingly through his role. Fisher’s role of a good scout blessed with insight is routine, but the actress puts a spin on it. Young Allen looks concerned.

The writing’s pedestrian, but the location footage in Oregon is attractive. Tech credits are acceptable, with John Debney turning in a happily restrained score.

Usa World Premiere Movie Praying Mantis

(Wed. (11), 9-11 p.m., Showtime)

Production

Filmed in Portland, Ore., by Fast Track Films. Inc. and Wilshire Court Prods. Exec producers, James Keach, Jane Seymour; producer, Robert Rolsky; director, Keach; writers, William Delligan, Duane Poole; story, Delligan.

Crew

Camera, Ross Maehl; editor, Stanford C. Allen; production designer, Bryan Ryman; sound, Doug Tourtelot; music, John Debney.

Cast

Cast: Jane Seymour, Barry Bostwick, Frances Fisher, Chad Allen, Colby Chester , Michael MacRae, Anne Schnedeen. John Martin, John Knotts, Sherri Jensen, Kathleen Kendall, Barbara Kite, Mariah Milner, Roger Welch, Victor Morris, Frank Roberts, Sherry Narens, Karen Johnson-Miller, Jerry Basham, Amy Stering, Mark Allen, Barbara Lee, Curt Hanson, Terry Ward.

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