Thou Shalt Not Kill (1982) starring Lee Grant, Gary Graham, Diana Scarwid, Robert Culp, James Keach, Scott Marlowe, Donald Hotton directed by I.C. Rapoport Movie Review

Thou Shalt Not Kill (1982)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lee Grant in Thou Shalt Not Kill (1982)

The Mechanics of Murder

Mechanic Ray Masters (Gary Graham - All the Right Moves) is a hard working family man who is willing to do what ever labouring work it will take to earn enough money to buy his own garage. But whilst working away from home he ends up wrongfully arrested for a murder and sent down. And matters get worse when inside he finds himself accused of murdering a vindictive prison guard in self defence. Now with the likelihood of being sentenced to death his lawyer Maxine Lochman (Lee Grant - The Swarm) must prove him innocent of the original murder.

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" is one of those movies which proves that a movie doesn't have to be good to be entertaining. Now I don't mean that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is a bad movie, although some of the acting is at times laughably weak, but it is a movie which has issues, some of which are due to its age. Yet despite this it has a tone, a gentle daytime TV movie tone which makes it easy to watch and get drawn into.

Gary Graham in Thou Shalt Not Kill (1982)

In truth whilst "Thou Shalt Not Kill" offers up the twist of Ray not only being inside for a crime he didn't commit but then finding himself in further trouble when in self defence he kills a prison guard, it is in truth all ordinary. Whilst we see the troubles which Ray goes through from early on when the man he is accused of murdering riles him up to the issues inside prison the real focus is on Maxine trying to get to the bottom of what actually happened and who committed the first murder. With a look which is reminiscent of 80s cop shows it is all general stuff as she goes looking for answers and of course whilst she is looking for answers important clues are slowly dropped such as one work colleague who doesn't return to work and the security guard who might be able to shine the light on an important fact.

Now I did mention that some of the acting is weak and whilst not the worst in the movie Diana Scarwid as Ray's wife Susan struggles with the more emotional scenes. But then both Lee Grant and Gary Graham are good in their respective roles making generic characters entertaining. And for those who know their horror movies will see a very fresh faced Robert Englund as one of Ray's fellow prisoners.

What this all boils down to is that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is nothing new as the innocent man inside storyline has been done countless times and done better. But whilst it has some obvious weaknesses there is something still watchable about "Thou Shalt Not Kill".