Alone with a Stranger

Director: Peter Liapis

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Alone with a Stranger (200) is a seedy chyeapo good twin/evil twin thriller, with a made-for-cable feel to it. Separated at birth, psycho Max secretly stalks & studies his twin brother James who doesn't know he has an evil twin.

Max finally kidnaps the good twin & stores him in a closet to be poorly taken care of by the psycho's nutter of a babe gal pal Beth (Nia Peebles, the best thing in the film which isn't saying much).

Alone with a StrangerMax takes over his brother's business, family life, his entire life, planning to kill his sister-in-law & cash out the business then go to some other country with Beth & millions & millions of dollars. Though with Max being a psycho & all, Beth is a bit of a dim bulb to assume it's all going to work out in her behalf.

Along the way he kills a couple other people not for any sensible reason but to keep the action ratio amped up. He boasts about the plan being foolproof but in just about every scene he does something stupid that would make the forensics pretty easy.

The film's just a bundle of dumb. William R. Moses is a sometimes-competent actor, but truly not good enough to create two credible performances at once. Having to feel sorry for William Moses when he's being James then think of him as scary when he's Max doesn't work out because he's just that capable a performer.

Some of the stuff that happens in the closet between James & Beth just about works -- it is, at any rate, the least boring aspect of a boring film, even though it begs us to believe in scene after scene that James helpless against a mere slip of a wee Beth even when she puts the gun down & leans in close to him.

A big dose of the suspense is supposed to surround James' wife Sandy (Barbara Niven) rediscovering romance with James never realizing it's not James. Niven is a rather haggard looking actress not very appealing to start with. She's got enough make-up caked on for this role that only if she turned out to be a hag in disguise & a bigger psycho than Max would she have been appropriate casting as mom instead of grandma.

The fact that neither she nor her son can tell James is no longer James doesn't make them interesting. The most disturbing torture sequence, when Max as James begins to torment the child (Scotty Cox), seems like a dead give-away & at some point the little tyke should have just said, "You're not my daddy." But mom & kid are pretty simpleminded people, making it hard to care what happens to them.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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