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The Stalking of Laurie Show

After a string of several successful upscale original movies, USA Network regresses with this drama produced by Sally Jessy Raphael's March Hare Entertainment. Press materials tout the TV production company for creating projects based in part on the lives of former Sally show guests. Let's just hope Jerry Springer doesn't get any ideas. If "The Stalking of Laurie Show" weren't based on a true headline horror, it could probably be called "Killer Prom Queen" and would be written off as pure camp.

With:
Hazel Show - Mary Margaret Humes Laurie Show - Jennifer Finnigan Michelle Lambert - Marnette Patterson Butch Yunkin - Rel Hunt Samantha Gardner - Jessica Greco Tabitha - Joanne Vannicola Uncle Jake - Richard Fitzpatrick Mary Rudolph - Sandra Caldwell Pete Webster - Don Dickinson Christine - Polly Shannon Andrew - Dominic Zamprogna Jennifer - Karyn Dwyer Paula - Courtney Hawkrigg Danny Gardner - Jeff Berg Mrs. Lambert - Vickie Papavs Mr. Lambert - Michael Proudfoot

After a string of several successful upscale original movies, USA Network regresses with this drama produced by Sally Jessy Raphael’s March Hare Entertainment. Press materials tout the TV production company for creating projects based in part on the lives of former Sally show guests. Let’s just hope Jerry Springer doesn’t get any ideas. If “The Stalking of Laurie Show” weren’t based on a true headline horror, it could probably be called “Killer Prom Queen” and would be written off as pure camp. As it stands, not only is “Stalking” a disservice to viewers, but also to the memory of the victims involved in the tragic tale so badly represented here.

Director Norma Bailey, stranger to subtlety, takes viewers on a exploitative ride beginning with the horrific murder of Lancaster, Pa., high school student Laurie Show and then back peddles nine months to the events leading up to the crime and subsequent court trial. Writer Jennifer Salt undoubtedly envisioned some sort of redneck version of “Cruel Intentions” to illustrate how the local prom king and queen could convince their peers to first terrorize and then kill a fellow classmate.

But instead of introducing us to a crafty, Machiavellian pair, we get the dimwitted Michelle (Marnette Patterson) and Butch (Rel Hunt), trailer trash with a penchant for drinking and shoplifting. How these two losers become the fascination of the entire town is never adequately conveyed, given their raised-by-wolves mentality and total lack of charisma. Still, viewers are led to believe that everyone wants to be Michelle’s friend and the object of Butch’s desire, especially newcomer Laurie Show (Jennifer Finnigan).

Shy and unsure, Laurie is easily drawn into Michelle’s twisted mind games with Butch, but when Butch seems to be genuinely attracted to Laurie, Michelle starts to torment the confused girl. Mary Margaret-Humes, better known as Dawson’s mom to “Dawson’s Creek” fans, stars as Hazel, Laurie’s ineffectual mother, who according to this account of events wouldn’t notify the police of her daughter’s rape, but would bug them over harassing phone calls.

Patterson is just ridiculous as Michelle, substituting blood red lipstick for any real display of malice while Finnigan is merely perfunctory as Laurie. Robert Lower’s frenetic editing combined with Adam Swica’s gimmicky camera style doesn’t help matters. Other tech credits are completely standard.

The Stalking of Laurie Show

Telepic; USA; Tues., Dec. 12; 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed on location in Toronto by March Hare Entertainment and Jaffe-Braunstein Films in association with USA Networks. Executive producers, Sally Jessy Raphael, Ellyn Williams, Susan Murdoch; producer, Randi Richmond; director, Norma Bailey; writer, Jennifer Salt.

Crew: Camera, Adam Swica; editor, Robert Lower; music, Bruce Hanifan; sound, Bruce Carwardine; casting, Glickman/Orenstein Casting, Juli-Ann Kay. 120 MIN.

Cast: Hazel Show - Mary Margaret Humes Laurie Show - Jennifer Finnigan Michelle Lambert - Marnette Patterson Butch Yunkin - Rel Hunt Samantha Gardner - Jessica Greco Tabitha - Joanne Vannicola Uncle Jake - Richard Fitzpatrick Mary Rudolph - Sandra Caldwell Pete Webster - Don Dickinson Christine - Polly Shannon Andrew - Dominic Zamprogna Jennifer - Karyn Dwyer Paula - Courtney Hawkrigg Danny Gardner - Jeff Berg Mrs. Lambert - Vickie Papavs Mr. Lambert - Michael Proudfoot

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