Despite assurances of less violence in the future on its net, CBS drops in a program focused on a young woman and her male roommate who chokes, stabs and tortures people crossing his path. Directed without subtlety by Douglas Jackson, “Deadbolt” is a potboiler with a couple of scary moments, but the plot about a psycho threatening a woman’s life is getting overly familiar.
Med student Justine Bateman rents half her apartment to stranger Mark Camacho , but Adam Baldwin murders Camacho so he can move in.
Bateman meanwhile brings home a jarful of botulism from the lab and stores it in the dining room without warning anyone about the deadly brew, a clumsy plot device that just sits there until the appropriate time.
Bateman doesn’t ask for references from Baldwin, despite ex-husband Chris Mulkey’s warnings, and takes in the charming unknown. She doesn’t know, of course, what viewers do: That Baldwin had been living with a woman whose body turned up in a bathtub. Understatement is not the program’s long suit.
Baldwin, garnering several scalps on the way to controlling Bateman, works his cunning deceptions until Bateman’s a helpless prisoner in her own home. Scripters Mara Trafficante and Frank Rehwaldt resolve her dilemma, but it’s a long, long look at the loony Baldwin character and his grim indiscretions.
Bateman rightfully looks scared, and Baldwin looks sunny except when he’s threatened; he then looks anxious. Michele Scarabelli is around as Bateman’s acquaintance from the past, and Cyndi Pass plays Bateman’s best friend.
Rodney Gibbons’ camerawork is all-pro, and Yves Langlois’ editing is efficient.
Tech credits are superior. Pic was intended as a 1992 feature film.