Filmed in Southern California by Carmen Culver Films, Peter Frankovitch Prods. and the Finnegan-Pinchuk Co. Exec producers, Carmen Culver, Sheldon Pinchuk, Peter Frankovitch; supervising producer, Lori-Etta Taub; producer, Ed Lahti; director, John Patterson; writer, Culver; camera, Mark W. Gray; editor, Michael Kewley; production designer, Michael Clausen; sound, Patrick Mitchell; music, Michael Hoenig; casting, Holly Powell. Cast: Bonnie Bedelia, Brian Austin Green, Joe Spano, Gina Philips, Steven Gilborn, Roma Maffia, Andrew Craig, Ron Brooks, Gene Wolande, Zar Acayan, David Ramsey, William Basset, Benito Martinez, Taylor Sheridan, Amy Smart, Jeanne Sakata, Laura Fortier, Amanda Carlin, Chris Ellis, David Quittman.
Bonnie Bedelia finds herself up to her neck in the role of a graduate-school teacher being chased by an oversexed male student determined to rule her. A close-to-trite damsel-in-distress thriller, “Her Costly Affair” generates dollops of suspense under John Patterson’s tight direction, but without Bedelia, it’d be just another familiar tune. Carmen Culver’s meller opens with a sunny family picnic. A boy spots a strong man fighting atop a cliff with a woman, who falls backward to her death. Telepic then zeroes in on Diane (Bedelia), who’s in an unexciting marriage with neglectful math professor Carl (Joe Spano). Diane, teaching about Shakespeare criticism, finds a lively student transfer, Jeff (Brian Austin Green), coming onto her. Diane has been hovering between rejection by her husband and daughter, by her own unexciting past and poor prospects for the future. She innocently parries with Jeff over views on “Othello,” trying to stay professional. He zooms in swiftly, she’s intrigued and foolish; she gives into him. Of course, Jeff is that killer on the cliff and when Diane pulls back after that one-time lapse, Jeff begins tracking her. When husband Carl meets Jeff under other circumstances, he thinks him “exceeding honesty.” Diane is doomed until a familiar finale on a rooftop. She has a psychologist friend (Roma Maffia), and she’s living in a university community, but she doesn’t reach out it would spoil the vidpic. Similar why-doesn’t-she-just? questions hang in the air, but helmer Patterson and the principals successfully play through them. The telefilm does have its scary spots, and the director gets good mileage out of the gimmicks. Bedelia’s expertise in creating Diane into something more than a typical heroine on the run is a pleasure. Green makes the psycho-loaded, sunny-acting heavy acceptably traditional, and Spano’s Carl is touchingly genuine. Gina Philips plays Bedelia’s daughter Tess, and Steven Gilborn sits in as head of the English department. Mark W. Gray’s camerawork is good, as is Michael Kewley’s editing except for a brief bit involving a restroom door closing during a chase scene. Production designer Michael Clausen’s use of Southern California locales, especially CalTech for the college scenes, is first-rate, and Michael Hoenig’s score scores. Tony Scott