Picks and Pans Review: Sins of the Mother

updated 02/18/1991 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/18/1991 01:00AM

CBS (Tues., Feb. 19, 9 P.M. ET)

A-

Based on Jack Olsen's nonfiction crime book. Son, this movie about a rich-boy rapist in Spokane, Wash., and his domineering, demeaning mother grabs you right from the eerie opening scene: We watch Dale (Elvis and Me) Midkiff and Elizabeth (Bewitched) Montgomery dress for a party—she slips on nylons: he fastens her dress. It suggests a symbiotic, sexual and superenmeshed relationship.

Director John Patterson makes the mood so claustrophobic that the sound of a phone ringing or a lawn sprinkler ticking can jangle your nerves. Montgomery is dynamic as the possessive, shaming man-hater. Midkiff, who starred earlier this month in The Maria Hanson Story, is excellent as the charmer who acts out his repressed rage in a series of brutal rapes.

Their performances elevate this movie into the company of The Deliberate Stranger, in which Mark Harmon grippingly portrayed serial killer Ted Bundy.

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