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Bloodknot (1995)

A tame made-for-cable psycho-thriller, rendered tamer still thanks to Hallmark dubbing 'bullcrap' and the like over foul language, this is the guessable tale of mystery woman Kaye (Kate Vernon) who hits on a soldier girl in a bar and then turns up in the woman's oversize uniform, claiming to be the girlfriend of a recently dead soldier. Kaye worms her way into the lad's family, winning over Mom (Margot Kidder) and little bro (Patrick Dempsey). Bad news guy Craig Sheffer is in the background as Vernon does mini-Shannon Tweed moves, with no explicit sex but the same seduction-of-a-whole family plot found in several top shelf thrillers (cf: A Woman Scorned), though the 'dead soldier's friend' angle was in a Brian Clemens TV Thriller (In the Footsteps of a Dead Man). The best bit is a chat about an ankle rose tattoo, almost a come-on to wealthy, perfect Dad (Allan Royal), but it's mostly familiar stuff with familiar devices – Sheffer is pushed away in a clinch and bonks himself dead on a rock, and it's heavily signalled early on that Vernon will actually turn out to be the daughter Kidder abandoned as a fifteen-year-old unwed mother before moving on to having the perfect life. This means uninteresting incest with Dempsey is glossed over, as is a murder attempt on a little sister, and the only unusual twist is that at the end Vernon is defeated but Kidder guiltily hugs and protects her long-lost daughter. Krista Bridges is the shut-out girlfriend who sleuths laboriously for a while before catching up with the audience.

Directed by Jorge Montesi, a Canadian hack (Omen IV: The Awakening). The interestingly hard-looking Vernon, daughter of Canadian character actor John Vernon, had already played the archetypal ambiguous scheming woman in a TV movie remake of Diabolique, House of Secrets; weirdly, she was in two similarly-premised 1995 films which have used the title Bloodknot – the other is yet another psycho bitch identity theft picture, aka The Sister-in-Law.

First published in this form here.

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