Picks and Pans Review: Nightmare on Drug Street

updated 04/10/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

While there is no attempt to be scientific or systematic in this dramatized 39-minute tape, its hip, impressionistic attitude may reach otherwise unreceptive minds. The tape opens on a black screen that is gradually lighted to show three youngsters sitting in deep shadows: a Hispanic boy about 16, a white girl about 14 and a black boy about 11. True, it's an obvious, one-of-each-type setup. But the three actors, Raymond Cruz, Joleen Lutz and especially little Adam Jeffries, are relaxed and natural as they reenact drug involvements that led to their deaths—Cruz's from drunk driving, Lutz's from a cocaine-and-unidentified-pill overdose, Jeffries's from crack's effect on a heart problem. Written by Entertainment Tonight associate director George Larrimore and directed by Traci Wald Donat, a recent USC film school grad (and daughter of Helen Reddy and Jeff Wald), the tape uses idiomatic language and creates a sense of menace without hysterics. The vignettes also make the point about how hard it can be to resist peer pressure. It's likely too that a youngster who might resist this line coming from an adult might accept it from Lutz: "Anything that can make you feel silly can make you act stupid." (Twin Tower, $19.95; part of the proceeds go to the Search Foundation, a California-based antidrug organization—800-553-4321)

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