Lethal Vows (1999) starring John Ritter, Marg Helgenberger, Megan Gallagher, Lawrence Dane, Jessica Bowman, Miko Hughes, Madeline Zima directed by Paul Schneider Movie Review

Lethal Vows (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Marg Helgenberger and Jessica Bowman in Lethal Vows (1999)

Till Death do you Part

Despite having been divorced for 14 years Ellen Farris (Marg Helgenberger - In Good Company) is still on quite good terms with David (John Ritter - IT) her ex husband and also his new wife Lorraine (Megan Gallagher). When Lorraine falls sick it is very similar to the same sickness which has plagued Ellen for years which up until now she had no answer for, that is until a doctor discovers that Ellen has the poison selenium in her system. Curious as to how Lorraine can have the same symptoms as her Ellen is shocked when Lorraine suddenly dies and becomes concerned there is more to Lorraine's death and the sickness which has plagued her than meets the eye.

So yet again "Lethal Vows" is not only another TV movie but another which is based on a true crime story. And what an interesting true story it is as we have Ellen becoming suspicious that not only did David kill Lorraine but is also behind the sickness which has plagued her for years. For some the interesting part will be Ellen piecing together what has been going on in order to nail her ex husband and in doing so discovering how he did it.

John Ritter in Lethal Vows (1999)

But for me the interesting aspect is the character of David Farris as whilst we become aware that he is behind it all the way he doesn't react is unsettling. When Ellen comes to him with her concerns over the similarity of Lorraine's illness with hers he coldly tells her that her problems were all in her head. What this means is that we are never sure if David really knows that he is behind the murders or whether or not he has some sort of spilt personality where he does things with out knowing because he is without an ounce of guilt or remorse or even doubt.

There is also what happens when Ellen goes to the police and they start to investigate her claims over David. Watching how he tries to wheedle his way out of things as the net closes on him almost seems unbelievable yet we are in true story territory.

Now there may be some elements of fiction to this, some poetic licence used to turn a true murder story into a TV movie but if there is it makes it work. There is a real sense of whether or not David will get away with it and it is that rather than how and why which keeps you watching. Well that and a good performance from John Ritter as David who's behaviour and general attitude comes across as quietly threatening.

What this all boils down to is that "Lethal Vows" is a solid made for TV movie which keeps you involved in the story because of that continuing sense that maybe a killer is going to get away with murder.