A CRY IN THE NIGHT, a horror film about a naive woman and her psychopath husband who turns against her, tells a frightening story. Inevitably, however, it collapses under the weight of its own silly plot.
Jenny (Carol Higgins Clark), a New York art gallery manager and single mother, bumps into famous Canadian painter Erich Keough (Perry King). It's love at first sight for Erich, who feverishly woos Jenny. She agrees to marry him, and moves with her two small daughters to Erich's Quebec estate.
The magical, romantic atmosphere changes quickly in Canada: the caretaker's deranged wife, Reine (Annie Girardot), babbles about her missing daughter; Erich, meanwhile, reveals an obsession with his dead mother and also vanishes to paint in middle of the night.
Jenny's ex-husband, Chris (James Rae), shows up. As he forces a passionate kiss on Jenny, Erich walks in, sees them, and bolts. From then on Erich becomes distant to Jenny--even after she tells him she is pregnant. Soon Chris is found dead in the estate's lake--in Jenny's car. When the coroner
rules an accidental death, Jenny escapes going to trial but wonders if she's going crazy.
Jenny gives birth to a boy. Erich is visibly upset upon seeing the child. After the baby dies in mysterious circumstances, Jenny makes plans to take the kids back to New York. Erich nabs her daughters, and using them as bait, demands Jenny confess to the murders of Chris and their baby. Jenny
decides to visit Erich's off-limits studio. She discovers her husband has forged his name onto his dead mother's paintings--and that his own macabre paintings detail a murderous past, including killing Chris, the baby, and even Reine's daughter. Erich stalks Jenny, and just as he's about to
bludgeon her, Reine shoots him in the back.
From its embarrassingly trite opening to its ridiculous, "self-incriminating paintings" ending, A CRY IN THE NIGHT is a hokey production from start to finish. That said, this film understands the mechanisms of terror. The operative story here--that of a trusting wife getting abused and finally
set up for murder by her insane husband--turns time tested images of domestic bliss upside down. Unfortunately, director Robin Spry, who directed this version of a Mary Higgins Clark book, has failed to convey Erich's dangerous behavior in a subtle manner. There is something obviously wrong with
Erich--a fact that only escapes the dimwitted Jenny. Indeed, long before Jenny decides to leave her husband, some viewers will have decided to leave this film. (Violence, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A CRY IN THE NIGHT, a horror film about a naive woman and her psychopath husband who turns against her, tells a frightening story. Inevitably, however, it collapses under the weight of its own silly plot. Jenny (Carol Higgins Clark), a New York art gall… (more)