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Blind Side (1993)

A made-for-cable Cape Fear knock-off from Geoff Murphy, who made a reputation in New Zealand with Utu and The Quiet Earth but only found big-screen projects like Young Guns 2 and Freejack in the States before turning his hand to livening up television. On holiday in Mexico, Ron Silver and Rebecca DeMornay accidentally run over and kill a policeman. They don't tell anyone and head back above the border to heave a suburban sigh of relief, whereupon sinister Rutger Hauer turns up and, hinting that he knows all, tries to get them to give him a job as a furniture salesman (!). Hauer, reprising his Hitcher mad menace role, is a clod in a cowboy hat with a DeNiro-ish fondness for brutalising sex partners, but makes a reasonably frightening villain, lacing every utterance with murderous irony. He puts the pressure on and the Happy Couple crack up, finally fighting back against the psycho, demonstrating as usual that if, their poolside barbeque space is threatened and there are enough DIY defensive weapons to hand, the average middle-class American family is more than a match for the average homicidal sociopath. The film trudges through the ordinary material, with Silver and De Mornay making a meal of their suffering, but flares to life in the finale, which involves plentiful fire and bludgeoning and the usual overkill approach to getting rid of the home invader.

First published in this form here.

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