The Morrison Murders (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Corbett in The Morrison Murders (1996)

Murder in the Family

Early in the morning after staying at his girlfriends Luke (Jonathan Scarfe - Dater's Handbook) returns home to find his parents and younger brother murdered. After heading to his sister-in-laws Patti's (Maya McLaughlin) they call the police and his old brother Walker (John Corbett - Flight of the Intruder) is called back as he out on a job, 3 hours away. The police initially suspect that Walker may have done it as he had a troubled relationship with his father despite working for him but when Luke fails a polygraph test the focus shifts to him and causes problems between the brothers especially when Luke not only starts to blow his inheritance but gets married to his girlfriend.

"The Morrison Murders" is also known as "The Morrison Murders: Based on a True Story" and it seems that they have added "Based on a True Story" element to remind audiences of this. And I can understand why because this is a made for TV movie and like so many of these made for TV movies about true stories and actual crimes the end result feels more like a work of fiction than an authentic dramatization. What that means that is on one hand "The Morrison Murders" doesn't really work as a look at the true story but then on the other as a crime story it is still entertaining.

Jonathan Scarfe in The Morrison Murders (1996)

So as I said "The Morrison Murders" is in fact based on a true story one which in fairness I am not familiar with. With that in mind it maybe the case that it does stick close to the truth but to the general movie fan it comes across more like a crime drama than a dramatization of a real murder case. Now in a way that is a disappointment because part of the appeal of these movies based on true stories is the dramatization of the truth, the revelations and the turn of events as a case is built but at the same time whilst it fails to convince as a true story it works well as an effective crime drama which leads to possibilities.

As such after we have the opening and we have Walker returning home to find himself the main suspect we quickly are presented with a selection of suspects; there are the brothers as well as their partners. And with the focus shifting on to Luke becoming a suspect we not only have an element of him acting a little dangerous and out of control but still a nagging doubt as maybe one of the others could have done it. It is because it manages to keep that guessing game going whilst also trying to provide reasoning for various people that you keep on watching and wondering, well if you don't know the details of the true story on which this is based.

What also helps is that "The Morrison Murders" has a decent cast with recognizable faces which add to it being watch-able. John Corbett and Jonathan Scarfe are effective as the brothers not just when it comes to them being suspects but also as the wedge which forms between them as they are investigated. And this continues further as the police ask for Walker's help in backing up their suspicions as you get an idea of the family bond but also the doubts in their minds.

What this all boils down to is that as a dramatization of a true story I don't rate "The Morrison Murders" but it works well as a drama with the cast doing a good job of bringing their characters to life.