The umpteenth direct-to-video serial-slaughter movie LADYKILLER is competent enough until it's sunk by an absurd climax.
A Withrow College coed is murdered by a stocking-masked man who stuffs large amounts of coins down her throat. Lt. Jack Lasky (Ben Gazzara), consigned to desk work after accusations of cowardice while tracking the "Lady Killer," investigates nonetheless. He arrests a young man named Richard
Darling (Alex McArthur) who's skulking around the campus, but Richard later passes a polygraph test. An actor up for a serial killer role, he asks to help Lasky track down the "Piggybank Murderer," who is claiming more victims. Richard also begins dating Lasky's daughter, Jennifer (Renee Ammann),
a Withrow student.
Lasky and Richard come to suspect photographer Colin Taylor (Steve Wilde), who had taken nude shots of the victims. While staking out his one surviving subject, Richard leaves Lasky--just before the girl and several cops are killed. Lasky has Richard re-arrested, but then Lasky's stripper
girlfriend Vicki (Landon Hall) is slain, and a man confesses to the crimes. When yet another girl is killed, Lasky (who has determined that the Piggybank Murderer and the Lady Killer are the same person) and Richard realize the villain is still at large and manage to rescue Jennifer from the
murderer--who proves to be her mentor, Professor Dandridge (Jacob Witkin), driven around the bend by his wife's infidelity.
The presence of Gazzara in the lead suggests something more interesting than LADYKILLER delivers. For his part, Gazzara goes through the movie looking annoyed, as befits an actor of his prior stature reduced to a generic role and movie like this. McArthur, whose wise-guy character gets the best
lines, has more fun with his part, though aside from a comment that he's "too good-looking to be a serial killer" (which McArthur played in 1992's RAMPAGE), little is done with the satirical possibilities of an actor helping track a murderer.
Instead, LADYKILLER goes through the motions, ladling out the requisite flashbacks to the incident that disgraced Lasky and, in the second half, an ungainly number of red-herring suspects. All of this is watchable enough, if not terribly inspired, but it completely falls apart in the last act.
After some ridiculous leaps in deductive logic, the heroes confront a killer who, after he shoots Richard, allows Lasky and Jennifer a few moments to grieve over him before getting back to business. And his explanatory monologue is thoroughly laughable, destroying whatever goodwill LADYKILLER has
built up by that point. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: The umpteenth direct-to-video serial-slaughter movie LADYKILLER is competent enough until it's sunk by an absurd climax. A Withrow College coed is murdered by a stocking-masked man who stuffs large amounts of coins down her throat. Lt. Jack Lasky (Ben Gaz… (more)