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Buried Secrets

Filmed in Toronto by Michele Brustin Prods. in association with Scripps Howard Entertainment. Executive producers, Michele Brustin, John Leekley, Richard Brams; co-executive producers, Jeb Rosebrook, Joe Byrne; co-producer, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, producer, Richard Brams; line producer, Billy Higgins; co-producer, Andi Wooten; director, Michael Toshiyuki Uno; script, John Leekley; camera, Richard Quinlan; editor, Charles Bornstein; production designer, Carmi Gallo; art director, Allan Crawley; sound, Dan Latour; music, J. Peter Robinson; casting, Reuben Cannon & Associates, Eddie Dunlop. Cast: Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tim Matheson, Melinda Culea, Erika Flores. Kelly Rutherford, Channon Roe; Lori Hallier, Nicky Guadagni, Elizabeth Horton, Shelley Cook, Denis Akiyama, Arlene Meadows, John Boylan. Young woman encounters a teenage ghost and attendant murder mystery in "Buried Secrets," a spooky film set in Stephen King's home turf, Maine. TV pic would have been ideal fare for Halloween. Whether it's as appropriate for sweeps depends on star Tiffani-Amber Thiessen's draw, but John Leekley's script does have some intriguing aspects. Thiessen stars as Annalisse, who has moved with her mother (Melinda Culea) to spooky mansion in the town where Mom grew up. Before long, Annalisse starts seeing things: first the vision of a woman being dashed to death on the coastal rocks, then a girl who peeks out of mansion's upper windows. It's soon explained that home has been abandoned since wife of its owner (Tim Matheson) died after a fall from a cliff and couple's daughter, Mary (Erika Flores) mysteriously disappeared. Mary's spirit can't leave the house and go wherever spirits go, she explains to Annalisse, until her mother's death can be identified as a murder, rather than the assumed accident, and the killer brought to justice. Now inhabited to some degree by Mary's spirit, Annalisse teams up with dead girl's former b.f. Johnny (Channon Roe) to play Nancy Drew. Scattered among the red herrings, unresolved elements and plot holes are some genuinely eerie moments, an OK (if somewhat predictable) solution, and dashes of kinkiness in the oddest places: When Annalisse first meets Johnny, in his garage, he wants nothing to do with her. "Well, Johnny," she replies, "I want you to fill my tank and then I want you to wash my windshield, while I watch." Jiminy! Later, when Mary wistfully remarks, "I haven't touched Johnny since that night he walked away from me," Annalisse notes , helpfully, "All you need are my hands." Whoo-ee! Before long, Mary dead, remember is in a snit because Annalisse is stealing her boyfriend. Mary's tendency to such a juvenile attitude, even in the afterlife, is one of script's more appealing elements. Also of interest is Matheson's yeoman attempt at a Maine accent (though he's evidently the only native of the small town who speaks with one). And there's a symbolic horse. Thiessen's character could use a bit more spunk (like Mary, for instance), Roe is appealing enough as the boy from the wrong side of the tracks (surly because he's misunderstood), and Culea is given virtually nothing to do her high school relationship with Matheson's character is one of those unresolved plot elements. Shelley Cook plays Matheson's dead wife in flashback, Kelly Rutherford appears as Matheson's current wife, and Elizabeth Horton as their daughter. Film has a solid look (except for the ghost, of course), and strong direction by Michael Toshiyuki Uno. "Buried Secrets" would have been stronger still in a 90-minute timeslot; in two hours, it often seems padded. Todd Everett

Filmed in Toronto by Michele Brustin Prods. in association with Scripps Howard Entertainment. Executive producers, Michele Brustin, John Leekley, Richard Brams; co-executive producers, Jeb Rosebrook, Joe Byrne; co-producer, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, producer, Richard Brams; line producer, Billy Higgins; co-producer, Andi Wooten; director, Michael Toshiyuki Uno; script, John Leekley; camera, Richard Quinlan; editor, Charles Bornstein; production designer, Carmi Gallo; art director, Allan Crawley; sound, Dan Latour; music, J. Peter Robinson; casting, Reuben Cannon & Associates, Eddie Dunlop. Cast: Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tim Matheson, Melinda Culea, Erika Flores. Kelly Rutherford, Channon Roe; Lori Hallier, Nicky Guadagni, Elizabeth Horton, Shelley Cook, Denis Akiyama, Arlene Meadows, John Boylan. Young woman encounters a teenage ghost and attendant murder mystery in “Buried Secrets,” a spooky film set in Stephen King’s home turf, Maine. TV pic would have been ideal fare for Halloween. Whether it’s as appropriate for sweeps depends on star Tiffani-Amber Thiessen’s draw, but John Leekley’s script does have some intriguing aspects. Thiessen stars as Annalisse, who has moved with her mother (Melinda Culea) to spooky mansion in the town where Mom grew up. Before long, Annalisse starts seeing things: first the vision of a woman being dashed to death on the coastal rocks, then a girl who peeks out of mansion’s upper windows. It’s soon explained that home has been abandoned since wife of its owner (Tim Matheson) died after a fall from a cliff and couple’s daughter, Mary (Erika Flores) mysteriously disappeared. Mary’s spirit can’t leave the house and go wherever spirits go, she explains to Annalisse, until her mother’s death can be identified as a murder, rather than the assumed accident, and the killer brought to justice. Now inhabited to some degree by Mary’s spirit, Annalisse teams up with dead girl’s former b.f. Johnny (Channon Roe) to play Nancy Drew. Scattered among the red herrings, unresolved elements and plot holes are some genuinely eerie moments, an OK (if somewhat predictable) solution, and dashes of kinkiness in the oddest places: When Annalisse first meets Johnny, in his garage, he wants nothing to do with her. “Well, Johnny,” she replies, “I want you to fill my tank and then I want you to wash my windshield, while I watch.” Jiminy! Later, when Mary wistfully remarks, “I haven’t touched Johnny since that night he walked away from me,” Annalisse notes , helpfully, “All you need are my hands.” Whoo-ee! Before long, Mary dead, remember is in a snit because Annalisse is stealing her boyfriend. Mary’s tendency to such a juvenile attitude, even in the afterlife, is one of script’s more appealing elements. Also of interest is Matheson’s yeoman attempt at a Maine accent (though he’s evidently the only native of the small town who speaks with one). And there’s a symbolic horse. Thiessen’s character could use a bit more spunk (like Mary, for instance), Roe is appealing enough as the boy from the wrong side of the tracks (surly because he’s misunderstood), and Culea is given virtually nothing to do her high school relationship with Matheson’s character is one of those unresolved plot elements. Shelley Cook plays Matheson’s dead wife in flashback, Kelly Rutherford appears as Matheson’s current wife, and Elizabeth Horton as their daughter. Film has a solid look (except for the ghost, of course), and strong direction by Michael Toshiyuki Uno. “Buried Secrets” would have been stronger still in a 90-minute timeslot; in two hours, it often seems padded. Todd Everett

Buried Secrets

(Mon. (4), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

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