on August 23, 1996 by Christine James
This darkly comic justice-meting story of Vanessa ("Fear's" Reese Witherspoon), a beautiful but troubled youth who dishes out what's coming to sympathetic psychologist by day/deranged serial killer by night Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland) is a pretty hilarious take on a pretty twisted subject. With a wonderfully eclectic supporting cast, including Amanda Plummer as Vanessa's drug addicted prostitute mother, Dan Hedeya as a police detective and Brooke Shields as Bob's clueless wife, the film is carried on the shoulders of Witherspoon's fantastically funny performance as the strong-willed, likable, upbeat teen vigilante murderess, who can go from perky to pernicious in the blink of an eye when threatened. Sutherland is effectively creepy as the paternal good samaritan turned homicidal pedophilic necrophiliac. The Little Red Riding Hood parallel is a stretch but nevertheless makes for an amusing if violent climax. There are several hidden gags--for example, the photo Vanessa shows of her deceased father is actually of the Boston Strangler, though no acknowledgement is made of this. The great cast brings light-hearted humor and credibility to what could otherwise have been seen as a sickly exploitative (though well-written and directed) script. Definitely not for the weak of stomach, the limitations of the film's appeal is likely to restrict it to cult success at midnight showings. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Amanda Plummer, Dan Hedeya and Brooke Shields. Directed and written by Matthew Bright. Produced by Brad Wyman and Chris Hanley. A Roxie release. Comedy. Rated R. Running time: 102 min.
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