This mildly engrossing mystery works better as a crime melodrama than as a psychological suspense drama. SHARON'S SECRET maintains suspense by expertly disguising the true identity and motives of the culprit.
During a crime scene investigation of the double homicide of a millionaire couple, their unbalanced daughter, Sharon Hartly (Candace Cameron), viciously attacks a police officer. This makes her the number one suspect.
Laurel O'Connor (Mel Harris), the psychiatrist assigned to her case, feels that there's something too neat about the case. This pits her against those who believe Sharon is guilty, including her superior, Dr. Raines (Elaine Kagan), DA Ashmore (James Pickens Jr.), persuasive police detective Thomas
McGregor (Gregg Henry), and Frank Bodin (Alex McArthur), the silky lawyer who handled the Hartly finances and now begins wooing Dr. O'Connor.
Despite the efforts of a shadowy figure to frighten both her and Sharon, the psychiatrist digs deep enough to learn that the late Mrs. Hartly once had an out-of-town abortion. Other clues seem to point to Bodin and then to the the Hartly family handyman who is killed before he can be interrogated.
When Sharon is released from the mental institution, her concerned psychiatrist follows her to the Hartly mansion--and into a raging basement fire. Escaping through a window, Dr. O'Connor sees Sharon shooting the real killer-- Detective McGregor. Having helped the Hartlys during a financial
impropriety probe, McGregor became Mrs. Hartly's lover. Dismissed when he was no longer of any use, McGregor turned to murderous revenge. He is about to finish off the family when Sharon, though wounded, knocks him into the midst of the burning house.
Mystery fans willing to settle for an attractive placement of red herrings in a suspense buffet may find their appetite satisfied by SHARON'S SECRET. Even though Henry has played two-faced criminals before (BODY DOUBLE), he is so good at appearing wholesomely macho that he fools less discerning
armchair detectives again.
Despite solidly professional acting, this cornered-woman thriller lacks visual dexterity, sparkling dialogue, and any semblance of originality.
The titular character is so catatonic (a clever way to get around Cameron's lack of acting skill?) that one never cares about her dilemma. And Harris, a likable but lightweight actress, isn't quite up to the shadings required by the role of the emotionally panicked headshrinker, who bears most of
the film's weight.
Artificially sweetened with lots of surprises, this empty calorie diversion eventually sours, due to the deficiencies of its female stars and the transparency of its mystery formulas. (Violence, profanity, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: This mildly engrossing mystery works better as a crime melodrama than as a psychological suspense drama. SHARON'S SECRET maintains suspense by expertly disguising the true identity and motives of the culprit. During a crime scene investigation of the doub… (more)