Walker Experiences Dangerous Currie
As made for TV movies go "By Appointment Only" is run of the mill, no better or worse than many other made for TV thrillers. It features the usual problems from a storyline full of holes to important points being laid on a bit thick so you know something which should appear inconsequential will return later on. And of course the characters from a desperate single mum to a tough old military man are all stereotypes. But if all you want is a simple thriller which won't be too dark or violent then "By Appointment Only" is acceptable.
Following her husband's suicide Val Spencer (Ally Walker - If You Believe) is finding it tough as she has to try and be a single mum to Nick (Jordan Garrett), who is also struggling, but also hold down her job as a realtor. Her job takes her back to her old neighbourhood and to a neighbour who is selling his home which Val is put in charge of. When she shows up to show a buyer the home Val is shocked to be met by a young man and his wife who says he is the owner's nephew Steven (Currie Graham - The Accidental Witness). And she is right to be suspicious because the man is really Jake a killer and a thief who has the owner bound and gagged in the cellar as he tries to find his rare coin collection.
So after a brief set up where we witness Val's husband committing suicide and then see criminal Jake murder two people we get to the main story. And that main story is a little far fetched because we have Val working as a realtor and whilst in the process of showing someone around a house becomes suspicious of the man who says he is the owners nephew, who we know is really Jake. What this means is that the main storyline is Val following those suspicions and discovering the truth whilst also going gung-ho to try and stop him from what ever he is doing.
Thrown into this is the fact that since her husband's death Val has struggled to be a single mum to Nick who is struggling not only with coming to terms with his father's death but also the knock on effect that they are now poor. There is also the naive Angie, girlfriend of the evil Jake who doesn't realise how evil he really is. All of which end up becoming part of the main storyline but not in any surprising manner and scenes where we witness Angie putting a stolen ring on her necklace you know will be pivotal later on as is the scene where Nick runs away from school.
The thing about "By Appointment Only" is that not only does it make the mistake of over iterating the little things which will become pivotal it is also far fetched. It is a case that you have to go with the flow when Val suspects something isn't right and decides to play detective. You also have to accept that she would risk her life sneaking around a house with a criminal in it when as a single mum she has a son to worry about. And I could go on because there are a lot of elements which are plainly not realistic and veer towards being too unbelievable.
There is another issue with "By Appointment Only" which befalls TV movies and that is that the characters are basically stereotypes. Take the owner of the home which Val is selling, he is ex military who was a POW and so when Jake dumps in the cellar bound and gagged he is too tough to blab the combination of the safe. Jake's girlfriend Angie is the stereotypical naive girl who was an orphan and Jake is the best thing in her life unaware that he is a killer. And I could go on because from Nick being the struggling, angry son to Val being an equally struggling single mum it is all very cliche. And as such the performances be it from Ally Walker who plays Val or Currie Graham who plays Jake are purely average, giving us basically more cliche.
What this all boils down to is that "By Appointment Only" is your basic made for TV movie with a semi thriller storyline. It has all the regular flaws which make this sort of movie weak but then it is no better or worse than many a TV movie and if all you want is a clean thriller then that is what it is.