In The Deep Woods (1992)
When Rosanna Arquette has a serial killer in her midst there are more than a few red herrings keeping her shattered nerves on edge. Could it be her new lover who happens to shop at a local store owned by one of the victims? How about her brother who seems to be in the vicinity of murders in surrounding counties while away on business? Let’s not forget the officer in charge of the investigation who seems to have a crush on poor Rosanna and a decidedly off putting sense of humor. Lastly we have an older man stalking Rosanna who seems to be on edge though he claims to be hunting the killer at large. The problem is this guy looks a bit nervy and has a twitch in his eye. To top it off his name in real life is Anthony Perkins.
Care to take a “stab” at just who might be our killer stalking successful, single women?
This telefilm from director Charles Correll opens with a woman being approached by what appears to be a handicapped man on crutches only to find herself in the deep woods of the film’s title. And so the killings begin bringing in Will Patton as the assigned detective on the case. Standing in the crowd of onlookers behind the police barrier is Norman Bates himself, Mr. Perkins.
Patton’s questioning of the victim’s friends and acquaintances leads him to the funeral where he encounters Arquette. It seems that the case is revolving around our leading lady. She’s a writer of children’s books and at a local book club signing for the little ones, Perkins shows up seeking an autograph for his daughter. Arquette is already on pins and needles thanks to Patton telling her the killer could be any one of a number of people at the funeral or hanging around at any given time. Anthony Perkins at a children’s book signing minus his little girl in tow? I would classify that as slightly irregular.
The murders continue and the red herrings begin to multiply. Patton appears rather creepy as the officer on the case and turns up late at night confronting poor Rosanna and giving her the “what if I were the killer” come on. Not likely to work. Her boyfriend played by D.W. Moffett seems overly eager to enter into a relationship and according to the police, there’s a very strong chance that all the victims knew their killer.
When Perkins continues to appear before Arquette, she confronts him and he confirms he’s hunting the killer and she’s the link. He may be creepy but he’s convinced the killer is her brother, Christopher Rydell. Perkins will unveil his background story to the audience thus fleshing out his story, justifying his mysterious appearance. The poor woman doesn’t know who to believe or trust when the police do in fact take her brother in for questioning over some facts that seem odd enough to be incidental.
Just when you think you have nailed down the killer, another red herring or twist is sure to hit you and Miss Arquette broadside.
Far from bloody and nauseating as this might be should it have been produced circa 2017, it’s rather tame by today’s standards. Sure it’s a bit of a stretch with all the goings on surrounding Rosanna and with more red herrings than a fisherman’s catch, there’s still the Perkins factor. Tony was my main reason for finally catching up to this production which would unfortunately be his final film before passing away in September of 1992.
He’s a bit long in the tooth for a serial killer suspect but that’s what typecasting can do for you. If ever there was one single performance that overshadowed an actor for the balance of his career, might Tony be the award winner? Hard to argue with the selection though it’s always debatable.
Watchable for the Perkins factor, Arquette and I’ll also add that I like the work Will Patton has steadily given us throughout his film career as well.