Barbara Eden reprises her role as Dr. Jesse Owens, the psychic shrink, in this tale of blackmail and double-cross centered around a San Francisco police precinct. “Eyes of Terror” is a well-made TV film with an interesting overall story, though it suffers occasionally in the thesping, character definition and dialogue departments.
When Lt. David Zaccariah’s (Michael Nouri) partner is shot while answering a 911 call, he turns to Dr. Owens for some department-prescribed counselling. Reluctant at first, he cooperates and eventually asks her to help solve the case.
After the motherly doctor receives a lucky coin belonging to the dead cop, she starts to have recurring visions, giving her clues which will eventually help her solve the case. Naturally, with the exception of Zaccariah and Det. Tony Carpelli (Ted Marcoux), no one believes in her visions.
The story by Duane Poole (who also scripted the Katharine Hepburn-Anthony Quinn vidpic “This Can’t Be Love”) keeps the identity of the murderer well concealed, but along the way there are some unconvincing subplots and dialogue requiring more than a blind eye and a suspension of disbelief.
Eden looks almost uncomfortable at times with her characters requirements: Whenever Dr. Jesse has a vision, a pale, blank look grows on her face as the camera slants to an angle and a closeup — which grow tedious after repetition.
The script calls for her to become an amateur sleuth tracking a dangerous killer; as she races about in her car — keeping within the speed limit, of course — while hunting down her visionary killer, it has near-comic results.
On the other hand, the underused Nouri looks comfortable in his role and deftly carves his character, managing to rise above the dialogue and script shortcomings.
Marcoux also puts in a good turn as the cop who offers to help, as does Steven Anthony Jones playing the stubborn and typical Capt. Armstrong.
Director Sam Pillsbury does OK with a tough job. Director of photography Daryn Okada uses different techniques to tell the story; the handheld docu style could have been employed more, and the slanted-vision angles work well — the first few times.