Review: ‘Usa Pictures Original Tall, Dark and Deadly’

Latest USA meller focuses on a young woman romanced by a man she meets in a bar and who, it seems, has mad streaks of violence charging through his character. Violent, vicious and preposterous, "Tall, Dark and Deadly" only reasserts the ol' bromide about talking to strangers.

Latest USA meller focuses on a young woman romanced by a man she meets in a bar and who, it seems, has mad streaks of violence charging through his character. Violent, vicious and preposterous, “Tall, Dark and Deadly” only reasserts the ol’ bromide about talking to strangers.

Roy (Jack Scalia) tells Maggie (Kim Delaney) he works for the city in a PR job, but viewers have already seen him drop a woman off the top of a building.

He woos Maggie, goes through her things when she’s not home and turns nasty when he sees her out dining with ex-boyfriend Sam, who had left town for a new job.

Roy’s gone tilt, and he’s soon walloping Maggie, chaining her to a sink, knocking off other women and otherwise misbehaving. She finds out the hard way what Roy does for a living. He works for the city, all right. Boy, does he!

Director Kenneth Fink, working through about every suspenser cliche, plays them out with admirable tenacity, and they’re worth a chuckle or two. Scalia pulls off an athletic and persuasive threat as Roy, and Delaney plays the put-upon heroine Maggie with a pretty, straight face.

As the staunch Sam, Todd Allen seems sincere. Ely Pouget as Maggie’s ambitious business rival, Toni, gives the role an amusing casualness, and Gina Mastrogiacomo excels as Maggie’s loyal friend.

Bob Roe’s production looks good, and designer Phillip Vasels’ use of Houston and general location spots is choice. Alex Nepomniaschy’s camerawork is exemplary, as is Louise Innes’ precise editing.

Telefilm’s a silly ripoff of every damsel-in-distress drama back to silent days, and impressionable watchers will go along with every bloody excess to see how far the script will go. Cast plays with gusto, and Scalia and Delaney, constantly on the go, get as much exercise as Rin Tin Tin.

Usa Pictures Original Tall, Dark and Deadly

(Tues. (24), 9-11 p.m., USA)

Production

Filmed in Houston by Fast Track Films Inc. and Wilshire Court Prods. Inc. Executive producers, Vicki Slotnick, Jeremy Paige, Donald P. Borchers; producer, Bob Roe; co-producers, Kenneth Fink, MaryAnne Kasica, Michael Scheff; director, Fink; writers, Kasica, Scheff.

Crew

Camera, Alex Nepomniaschy; editor, Louise Innes; production designer, Phillip Vasels; sound, Tim Himes; music, Joseph Vitarelli.

Cast

Cast: Jack Scalia, Kim Delaney, Todd Allen, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Ely Pouget, James Sullivan, John S. Davies, Nik Hagler, Cynthia Dorn, Randy Means, Alissa Alban, Blue Deckert, Esteban Powell, Cliff Stephens, Eleese Lester, Brady Coleman, James Hansen Prince, Eric Glenn, James Belcher, Gabriel Folse, Marco Perella, Alex Morris, Michael Crabtree, John Swasey, Mickey Alzola, Sandra Cox-Jensen.
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