With a six-way double-cross and deadpanned one-liners dropped in during the heat of dramatic passages, “Cold Sweat” should succeed in keeping viewer’s interested until the last cheesy moment. But this B movie, which initially saw the theatrical light of day during its short-lived release bySkouras Pictures in 1993 before moving swiftly to homevideo, is little more than a poorly scripted movie of the week that had hopes of being much more but was hamstrung by bad acting.
After professional hit manMark Cahill (Ben Cross) kills an innocent bystander , Catherine (Lenore Zann), during an assignment, he is tormented by the dead girl, whose payback is apparently to annoy the trained killer until he snaps.
Catherine always appears at the most inconvenient times for Cahill, with a penchant for surfacing during lovemaking with his wife, when Catherine’s ethereal laugh ends the proceedings. The giggle interruptus is implausibly telegraphed as one of the methods that will help push the cold and calculating Cahill over the edge. But its repeated use grows tiresome.
Show’s real action starts when businessman Larry Moore (Dave Thomas), hoping to rescue his ailing real estate corporation, hires Cahill to knock off his business partner, Henry (Sean Mathieson), for the key man insurance money.
Initially, viewers are led to believe Larry is also targeting his trust fund-bearing wife, Beth (Shannon Tweed).
Scripter Richard Beattie succeeds in keeping as many balls in the air as possible. But he falls short on several counts, most notably in failing to give the cast any dialogue that doesn’t cover well-trod ground.
Program’s only saving grace is Thomas’ comedic timing, thanks to his background as a founding member of SCTV. Thomas’ perfectly placed, straight-faced one-liners save the dreary story without sacrificing what little credibility it struggles to maintain.
Director Gail Harvey does the best she can with her material, but in the process, “Cold Sweat” is revealed as what it is: a low-budget film designed primarily for production-cost recoupment in foreign territories and homevideo. Viewers may be comforted by the knowledge that at least the vid version has the nudity and language the theatrical release incorporated specifically to appeal to those marketplaces.