Usa Pictures Original When the Dark Man Calls

Turning up in odd places, calling into Julie's radio program, he even fires a round of ammo at her when she leaves her bedroom curtains open.

Turning up in odd places, calling into Julie’s radio program, he even fires a round of ammo at her when she leaves her bedroom curtains open.

Julie’s 14-year-old sticks with her, and her solicitous brother, Lloyd (Chris Sarandon), tries comforting her. She’s got an ex-b.f., cop Michael (James Read), trying to protect her, but he’s a fumbler in more ways than one.

Writer Pablo F. Fenjves, who knows his way around a vidscript, and novelist Stuart M. Kaminsky have toted up a collection of alternate suspects.

Director Nathaniel Gutman works effectively with shadows, using setups bound to alarm anyone tied up in the vidpic.

Van Ark does a good job with the damsel-in-distress routine. But it’s Lewis’ revengeful convict who chalks up the points ; whether it makes sense or not, he gives Parmenter a stolid, menacing approach that works . As his mother, Vivian Reis puts in a strong pitch, and Sarandon as the slick brother does well enough.

Young Kathryn Long, bearing a resemblance to Van Ark, plays Julie as a child admirably. Caterina Scorsone as daughter Angie, as well as Read and Flatman, serve ably; Frances Hyland, Julie’s child psychiatrist, supplies comfortable moments.

Designer Bill Beeton kicks up the worrisome flavor of the telepic with his Toronto locations, and Joao Fernandes’ sure-fire lensing, Louise Innes’ cunning editing, David Michael Frank’s eerie music (enhanced by Amy Sky’s vocalizing) sustain the anxious mood. It may be far-fetched formula drama, but it’s also a successful attention-getter. ]

Usa Pictures Original When the Dark Man Calls

(Wed. (14), 9-11 p.m., USA)

Production: Filmed in Toronto by Power Pictures and Wilshire Court Prods. Producer, Julian Marks; co-producer/director, Nathaniel Gutman; co-producer/writer, Pablo F. Fenjves; based on the novel by Stuart M. Kaminsky; camera, Joao Fernandes; editor, Louise Innes; production designer, Bill Beeton; art director, Lucinda Zak; sound, Brian Day; music, David Michael Frank. #Cast: Joan Van Ark, James Read, Geoffrey Lewis, Chris Sarandon, Barry Flatman, Frances Hyland, Janet-Laine Green, Wayne Robson, Caterina Scorsone, Callum Rennie, Vivian Reis, David Hemblen, David Ferry, Judy Sinclair, Michael Copeman, Kathryn Long, Jay Allan Doucet, Matt Piche, Addison Bell, Richard Ryder, Laura Catalano, Brandi Ward, Niels Christensen, Tedd Dillon, Toni Ellwand. Julie (Joan Van Ark) has her hands full: A vengeful man she testified against ambles out of jail; her husband, Max (Barry Flatman), resents her for leaving him; and she's a radio psychologist who's got a dependent patient who thinks she's dropping him. Despite holes, the new Van Ark opus does offer a couple of good scares. It'll hold viewers. Julie wins no medals as nicest woman in the world, but she does her radio work well. Her chief problem is that the vengeful man, Parmenter (Geoffrey Lewis), is threatening her for getting him sent up for killing her parents 25 years ago.

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