Picks and Pans Review: Backfire

updated 06/19/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/19/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., June 18, 9 P.M. ET)

B+

Here is the kind of film noir Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck would have once excelled in. Listen: "We're the same. We belong together," says Karen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) Allen to her drifter lover, Keith Carradine. Set mostly in a mansion on Vancouver Island, B.C., this nifty, scary mystery stars Allen as a conniving tart whose wealthy husband, Jeff (Silverado) Fahey, is having a breakdown.

He's a Vietnam vet who suffers a Daliesque hallucination—he's on a battlefield, being watched by large eyeballs sitting atop swaying poles. When he becomes catatonic, his sister, Dinah (Empty Nest) Manoff, tries to take care of him, causing friction with Allen. This mystery has more twists than a Swiss highway, and the deft plot has your sympathies going from Allen to Carradine to Fahey to Manoff, since you're never sure who's zooming who. Gilbert (Oh God! Book II) Cates directed.

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