PRESUMED INNOCENT meets FATAL ATTRACTION with diminishing returns. Steamy crime melodramas can be entertaining trash when they boast well-rounded central characters who are flawed by their regrettable tendency to think with their genitals. In HOMICIDAL IMPULSE, stick figures scream at
each other, while the director flubs his presentation of plot complications that come from left field and beyond.
Diligent Assistant DA Tim Casey (Scott Valentine) gets passed over for promotion because he has obviously failed Assertiveness 101. Somehow, his macho boss, DA Doogan (Charles Napier), can't see that Casey has a little killer instinct in his soul. Although claiming to be Doogan's niece, new kid in
the office Deborah (Vanessa Angel) spots Tim's career potential and champions him, although she's really Doogan's mistress. Thanks to her machinations, Tim's stock rises along with his self-confidence, and he becomes a puppet for Deborah's hidden agenda--her own career advancement.
Although he drops his main squeeze Emma (Talia Balsam), Tim's not quite ready to murder Doogan to keep Vanessa happy. Lying about incest from "Uncle Doogan," Deborah gets Tim all riled up and drugs him into believing he's murdered Doogan (a homicide Debbie's already committed). Convincing Tim to
dispose of Doogan for her, the unbalanced Deborah reveals her true colors and threatens to discredit him if he doesn't continue to play ball with her. She also manages to remove her competition for Tim's affections.
While Deborah tries to point the finger of suspicion, resourceful Tim has already planted body parts in her pad. Deftly pinning the murders of Doogan and Emma on Deborah before he blows her away, not only has Tim gotten off the hook from two crimes he didn't commit, but he is also the natural
candidate to replace Doogan as DA.
That double-whammy surprise ending is a nifty tie-up for an exceedingly sloppy thriller. Since Deborah seems to have the words "femme fatale" stamped on her forehead, it's hard to feel sympathy for the easily duped assistant DA. Required to jump through large loopholes in David Tausik's
screenplay, Deborah is poorly written and unpersuasively limned by Vanessa Angel. Although their sex scenes have some sizzle, Valentine (MY DEMON LOVER, WRITE TO KILL) really only shines as an actor when he finally turns the tables on his manipulative lover.
All the actors are abandoned by a meretricious screenplay that requires the audience to suspend disbelief until they must rebel at how insulting to their intelligence the film is. Shabby to begin with, HOMICIDAL IMPULSE needlessly crosses over to the realm of horror with gratuitous scenes of
Valentine dismembering and melting down his late boss. At times, we seem to be watching a training film produced by John Wayne Gacy.
Part sex melodrama, part gore movie, and all rip-off, HOMICIDAL IMPULSE is only worthwhile as a cinematic primer on the qualities necessary to succeed in politics. (Extreme violence, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: PRESUMED INNOCENT meets FATAL ATTRACTION with diminishing returns. Steamy crime melodramas can be entertaining trash when they boast well-rounded central characters who are flawed by their regrettable tendency to think with their genitals. In HOMICIDAL IMP… (more)