Prettykill (1987)

Rating:

Canada. 1987.

Crew

Director – George Kaczender, Screenplay – Sandra K. Bailey, Producers – John R. Bowey & Martin Walters, Photography – Joao Fernandes, Music – Robert O. Ragland, Art Direction – Andris Hausmains. Production Company – Dax Avant

Cast

David Birney (Sergeant Larry Turner), Season Hubley (Heather Todd), Suzanne Snyder (Francie), Germain Houde (Jacque Mercier), Yaphet Kotto (Lieutenant Harris), Susannah York (Toni)


Plot

After his partner is killed in action, police detective Larry Turner obsessively pursues the trail of a killer who is murdering prostitutes. Turner’s girlfriend, high-class madam Heather Todd, recruits a new girl, Francie. However, Francie is mentally unstable – talking in a little girl’s voice and uncontrollably whipping a client during an S&M session. Her father comes, warning Heather that Francie is doing the killings, but Francie slashes his throat.


This Canadian-made police thriller is a genuinely awful film. It is not that the technical side is particularly deficient or that the script has any particular howlers. However, the film is dull and utterly dreary – neither its portrayal of police work or prostitution is shown with the slightest conviction.

Although the greatest lack of conviction anywhere in the film is the casting of David Birney who seems laughably out of his depth away from his usual casting in family values tv movies in trying to play a tough, worldweary detective, burned out to breaking point. Although Suzanne Snyder, who gives an embarrassingly awful performance, giggling with her thumb in her mouth as she goes psycho, gives Birney a strong run for his money. Even a reliable performer like Susannah York manages to give a bad performance. Season Hubley is the only one who manages to hold her head up, playing her badly written role with a class and dignity the film does not deserve.

Prettykill was one of a handful of films made by expatriate Hungarian director George Kaczender who took up residence in Canada. His most well known film was probably In Praise of Older Woman (1978). His one other venture into genre material was the subliminal brainwashing thriller Agency (1979). All of Kaczender’s work subsequent to this has been in television.


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