Deadly Messages (1985)
Just before they went out Laura (Kathleen Beller) and Michael (Michael Brandon - James Dean) stumbled across an Ouija board in their cupboard which Laura's friend who was staying with them asked to use. When Laura returns home she realises she hasn't got her key and after venturing out on to the fire escape to see if she can attract her friend's attention she witnesses her being murdered. When Detective Max Lucas (Dennis Franz - Body Double) and Michael arrive neither of them believe she witnessed a murder as there is no body or evidence of a crime. With Michael fearing that Laura is cracking up she sets out to find out what is going on especially when she tries the Ouija board and receives a message which makes her fear for her life.
I wish I could say otherwise but "Deadly Messages" is juts a typical TV movie which takes the familiar set up of a woman witnessing a murder but no one believing her when they find no evidence of a crime leading to suspicion of her cracking up. Now in fairness right from the start it gives us a mixed message as during the opening we see Laura's friend appear to receive a message from beyond the grave and then when we witness the crime through Laura's eyes we see the man who did it. It makes us curious as to what the connection between a message from beyond the grave and the killer is, as in how he is targeting first Laura's friend and then her or whether or not the whole thing is in fact a psychotic episode.
But beyond this curiosity "Deadly Messages" is pretty typical as Laura has to deal with no one believing her especially the cops who think she is crazy. Not only that we also have the annoying styling where characters say things to explain what is happening rather than letting us fathom it out for ourselves such as when Laura tells Michael she wonders whether the attacker was actually after her.
Despite this "Deadly Messages" is nicely acted with Kathleen Beller and Michael Brandon doing their best to make their standard characters entertaining. Plus there is Dennis Franz who it typecast as a detective but Franz plays the part of the cynical cop perfectly.
What this all boils down to is that "Deadly Messages" is a solid but unremarkable TV movie which manages to make you curious but serves up just regular TV movie dramatics.
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