For Richard (William Katt - House) and Katherine (Mel Harris - Wind Dancer) their only problem is that their young son, Alex (Brian Bonsall), has a habit of making mischief and getting in to trouble. But things take a turn for the unusual when Richard's distant cousin, Harry (David Keith - Gulag), and his girlfriend, Conne (Marg Helgenberger - Through the Eyes of a Killer), show up out of the blue having not seen each other since they were children. Whilst Katherine is unsure about them Richard insists on letting them stay and before long the lively and easy going pair are not only making themselves at home but having an influence on Alex. Beginning to suspect Harry and Connie are not what they seem soon Richard and Katherine find themselves in danger.
Dangerous with a side of gee whizz is the best way to describe David Keith's character in "Distant Cousins" and I start this review mentioning David Keith as he is the best thing about this movie which also goes by the name of "Desperate Motive". He makes Harry this kind of trailer trash cousin who comes across as nice but also a bit uncouth yet we learn almost instantly he is not what he seems when we watch him dump a dead body he had stashed under a seat in his motor home. It is such a full on performance from David Keith that it ends up making "Distant Cousins" entertaining and he certainly ends up over shadowing all the others including Mel Harris who is typically likeable in this.
The thing is that beyond David Keith's enjoyably full on performance "Distant Cousins" doesn't have that much else going for it for the simple reason it tells you too much to quickly as in we learn that Harry is not only not all he appears to be and is incredibly dangerous. What follows on from there is watching Harry use his skills to take over the lives of Richard and Katherine whilst Connie, who needs medication to stop her from flipping out, ends up dangerously out of control. That is all there is with the movie building till eventually Katherine, Richard as well as their friends end up in danger and it is going to take a moment of bravery from someone, maybe the ingenious Alex, to save the family.
What this all boils down to is that "Distant Cousins" is not anything special and to be honest would be forgettable if it wasn't for the entertaining performance from David Keith. But because of David Keith this ends up a surprisingly enjoyable b-movie.