The director-son of John Huston lured Burt Reynolds and Angie Dickinson into starring in this forgettable psychothriller.
Suburban Florida yuppie David Osborne (Brian Wimmer) has to hit the road again for his high-pressure job, leaving behind five-year-old daughter Samantha (Kayla Buglewicz) and wife Cassie (Mia Sara). Cassie decides to take Samantha for an impromptu road trip to her sister in Tampa, just to spite
When Cassie stops for gas, she meets the intense station owner, Roy Scudder (Burt Reynolds), who rigs her car to break down conveniently near his house. Scudder takes them home, where they meet his delusional wife Georgina (Angie Dickinson) and belligerent offspring Jill (Candace Huston), who are
both convinced that the Osbornes are long-lost relatives. The hospitable Scudders proceed to lock Cassie in her predecessor's old room and Jill acts as Samantha's abusive guardian, tying the younger girl to her with a rope to ensure this "playmate" won't run away.
Warden-like Roy encourages the domestic prisoners to answer to the names of the ominously-vanished kinfolk, but he cannot control the taunting hallucination of his dead father (William Hickey), the personification of a guilty conscience over his violent temper, lust for Cassie, and most of all how
he killed his own sickly young son and buried the boy in secret.
David, meanwhile, is the cops' prime suspect in his spouse and child's disappearances. The fugitive trails his missing family down to the Scudder farm, but Roy knocks out the intruder and throws him down a well. David manages to recover, climb out, and reunite with Cassie. In a delusional fit, Roy
mistakes Georgina for his disapproving daddy and shoots her. Then, while he's grappling with David, Cassie grabs the gun and blasts the madman out a second-floor window. At daybreak, only Jill remains, angry and alone, on the Scudder homestead.
Burt Reynolds' best dramatic roles, like DELIVERANCE (1972) and THE LONGEST YARD (1974), hinted at darker, dangerous things lurking behind his virile charm and good-old-boy smile, and here, as in 1996's STRIPTEASE, the onetime top box-office attraction seeks to reinvent himself. Reynolds and
Dickinson (reunited for the first time since 1969's SAM WHISKEY), manage to maintain a degree of dignity and wit throughout this inferior suspense tale, whose artless script alternates stupid comic relief (two Bill-and-Ted buttheads at the gas station) with waiflike Mia Sara's agony in tearing off
a fingernail trying to pry up a door's hinge. THE MADDENING received overseas theatrical release, but in the US mainly maddened viewers on home video. (Adult situations, profanity, violence.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: The director-son of John Huston lured Burt Reynolds and Angie Dickinson into starring in this forgettable psychothriller. Suburban Florida yuppie David Osborne (Brian Wimmer) has to hit the road again for his high-pressure job, leaving behind five-year-ol… (more)