Whispers in the Dark

Directed by Atom Egoyan. Starring Elias Koteas, Arsinee Khanjian, Maury Chaykin, Gabrielle Rose, Jennifer Dale. (1992)

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Aug. 7, 1992

Provocative? Sexy? Maybe just a little perverse? That's the advance expectations set up by this film. Sciorra plays a psychiatrist experiencing recurrent sexy dreams inspired by the sexual excapades of her patient (Unger) which include bondage and sex in the utility room of the Tavern on the Green. However, she begins to sleep a little more soundly after she meets perfect man Sheridan. Now, anyone want to guess what two women find themselves sharing the same lover? It's enough to drive Sciorra to see a shrink of her own (Alda) and when the beautiful Unger turns up naked and dead, the course of true love runs a little rockier than usual. Lapaglia plays the cop on the case, Clayburgh does time as Alda's dutiful wife and Leguizamo plays a ghetto artist with a taste for a little B&D himself. Each suspect is allowed to do a pirouette before being eliminated in one way or another. Sciorra emerges as a paticularly neurotic and accident-prone psychiatrist. (Listen carefully, can you hear the sound of psychiatrists howling? They didn't much care for Basic Instinct, nor Prince of Tides, now this.) Meanwhile, we are given ample opportunity to explore our own feelings about bondage, eroticism and violence towards women. Unfortunately, these issues are not presented in any interesting or intelligent manner, meaning we are in no way distracted from an incredibly stupid story. The actors' performances are probably the most positive elements in this confused project. Unger's full-tilt vamp works in counterpoint to Sciorra's retiring flutter but both are nearly undone by the histrionics of Leguizamo and Alda. What's the word on Whispers in the Dark? Dumb.
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