Picks and Pans Review: Ghost in the Machine

updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Karen Allen

The vicious killer in this movie is a computer nerd, which gives a whole new meaning to the term "hacker." Still, though billed as a '90s technothriller, this film is really nothing more than one of those cheesy '50s science fiction chillers, like The Blob and The Thing, tailed up with contemporary computer gimcrackery.

The premise here, believe it or not, is that a dead serial killer (dubbed the Address Book Killer because he steals people's Filofaxes and then methodically works his way through the listings) is pursuing his intended victims via their computers and other home appliances. This is supposedly possible because when the fatally injured killer underwent an MRI scan following a car accident, a power outage led to some sort of perpetual electronic afterlife.

All of this is an excuse for some decent actors (Allen, Chris Mulkey and Jessica Walter) to look perplexed and terrified. Also, Ghost in the Machine may be the first movie ever to feature a point of view shot through an electrical outlet, for which director Rachel Talalay deserves at least some sort of mention. (R)

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