Picks and Pans Review: Whispers in the Dark
Like Basic Instinct, this is a preposterous thriller that maintains interest even though it features not an instant of plausible behavior.
Unlike Basic Instinct, this is a splendidly acted thriller, though even Sciorra, LaPaglia, Alda et al. can't derive much honest drama from a script—by director Christopher Crowe in his first feature—that never rises above the level of one character, who has just clubbed his wife over the head with a full wine bottle and intentionally overturned a dining room table full of dishes, announcing, "I am very upset."
The plot continues Hollywood's open season on shrink bashing. The affecting, expressive Sciorra (Jungle Fever) plays a psychiatrist who, while she is not the certifiable maniac John Lithgow plays in Raising Cain, is so stubbornly sappy and stupid that she seems at least as crazy as her patients, which is saying a lot since her practice would seem to be devoted to sadists and masochists.
Deborah (Prisoners of the Sun) Unger is a patient whose murder sets off a chain reaction of coincidence-laden events during which Sciorra comes to suspect even her wholesome new boyfriend, Sheridan (A Stranger Among Us), of being the killer. Also involved in the murder investigation are LaPaglia (Betsy's Wedding), who has a Bogartish ability to play both good and evil, as a homicide cop; John (Hangin' with the Homeboys) Leguizamo, as a violent patient of Sciorra's; Alda, an avuncular psychotherapist who is Sciorra's mentor; and Clayburgh, Alda's slow-witted-going-on-dense wife. The psychotherapeutic community could justifiably raise its hackles over the film's emphasis on flawed therapists, but Crowe does keep up a reasonable level of momentum and generates suspense about the identity of the murderer. (R)"