Another variation on THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932), TAILS YOU LIVE... is long on coarsely-manufactured excitement and short on logic or integral suspense.
Businessman Jeff Quint (Ted McGinley) drops by his favorite watering hole, where he is sidetracked by competitive bar patron Neil Jones (Corbin Bernsen) into a card game. Jeff soon discovers that Neil is a serial killer who likes to toy with his victims. After being nearly run over on the street
and tormented at home and office by weird phone calls, Jeff takes the advice of friend Phil Wiseman (Jeff Pustil) and hires a private eye and former Marine, McKinley (Tim Matheson).
Neil poses as a security system repairman and disturbs Jeff's wife, Melanie (Maria Del Mar), after gaining her confidence and entry in the house. Luring his main quarry to an underground garage, Neil shoots at Jeff; later he infests his home with scorpions. McKinley persuades Jeff to lull Neil
into a false sense of security by faking his own death. Distracting the stalker with a fake client, Wiseman, McKinley, and Jeff invade Neil's fortress-like domicile, where they find find photos of his homicides. Wised up to the trick, Neil shoots McKinley to death before the detective can bring
his evidence to the police.
After getting the drop on Wiseman, whom he chains in a rapidly filling bathtub, Neil tangles with the one easy mark that got away. In a hail of bullets, Jeff wounds Neil and then ends the executive slayer's killing hobby by shooting him fatally. Rescuing Wiseman, Jeff nonetheless remains haunted
by dreams of bogeyman Neil garroting him.
Failing to exploit the implications of a murder spree by a company president, TAILS YOU LIVE... misses the opportunity to send up the cutthroat world of corporate gamesmanship. Instead, this average made-for-cable chiller foolishly salivates over its villain's run-of-the-mill sadism, aimed at a
rather colorless adversary. Although the pacing's a bit off, director Matheson invests the stalker set pieces with ample frissons and allows his actors grace notes in their performances, although McGinley is too lightweight for even accidental hero status.
Fueled by Matheson's wry minor turn and Bernsen's delicious portrayal of a mover-and-shaker chafing under a white collar of normal behavior, TAILS YOU LIVE... engrosses in a professional, impersonal manner. Holding back the film are instances of the "idiot plot," where characters do something
unbelievable only because it is needed to move the plot along. (Violence, profanity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Another variation on THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932), TAILS YOU LIVE... is long on coarsely-manufactured excitement and short on logic or integral suspense. Businessman Jeff Quint (Ted McGinley) drops by his favorite watering hole, where he is sidetracked… (more)