Rob Lowe stars as an architect who's being terrorized by a not-so-mysterious culprit in LIVING IN PERIL, a truly dumb thriller that was made in 1996, but justifiably dumped directly to home video in 1998.
Seattle-based architect Walter Woods (Rob Lowe) goes to Los Angeles for a month to design a home for Beverly Hills millionaire, Mr. Harrison (James Belushi), leaving behind his pregnant wife Linda (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), who's nervous about recent threats from her violent ex-husband. Following
an altercation with a reckless truck driver (Tony Longo) who tries to run him off the road, Walter gets the man fired. Walter then gets a temporary apartment, but is beset by a series of mysterious incidents: his blueprints are inexplicably ruined, he wakes up one morning with his bed crawling
with rats, and a masked intruder breaks into his room and breaks his toe. Walter suspects that the fired truck driver is behind it all and calls the police, but they have no evidence and the man has an alibi.
After a woman (Alex Meneses) who lives across the hall from Walter turns up dead in his bed, he gets an anonymous phone call from someone threatening to pin the murder on him. Walter buys a gun to protect himself and when he returns, sees the truck driver in his hallway and knocks him unconscious.
Harrison then arrives and reveals that he's really Linda's ex-husband, Oliver, and has been the one terrorizing Walter. A fight ensues and the two men wind up on the roof, where Oliver gets his tie sucked into the air conditioner and is strangled to death. Linda then comes to L.A. and drives
Walter back home.
Despite the professional sheen of moody cinematography, decent production values and an aggressively Bernard Herrmann-esque string score that promises thrills which are never delivered, LIVING IN PERIL is undone by idiotic plotting, an obvious villain, and the irritating stupidity of its lead
character. The plot is riddled with holes and lapses in logic (such as how it's possible that Walter is unaware of what Linda's ex-husband looks like, considering the severity of her problems with him), and there are preposterous "clues" (such as a detailed detour involving "rat urine"). The story
is flaccid because of the superfluous and heavy-handed red-herrings, including the truck driver and a loony apartment manager played by the incomparably scuzzy Dean "I'll take any role" Stockwell. There is virtually no suspense once Belushi's character is introduced, as it takes about two minutes
to figure out that he's really Linda's ex-husband, and it doesn't help that the hammy, stogie-chomping Belushi is less-than-convincingly cast as a millionaire businessman. Rob Lowe wears a constant expression of uncomprehending befuddlement and the dunce-like Walter's increasingly incredulous
actions are extremely exasperating. A decade ago, Lowe co-starred with Belushi in ABOUT LAST NIGHT (1986), but now they're both lucky just to play the leads in a bad vidpic like this. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: Rob Lowe stars as an architect who's being terrorized by a not-so-mysterious culprit in LIVING IN PERIL, a truly dumb thriller that was made in 1996, but justifiably dumped directly to home video in 1998. Seattle-based architect Walter Woods (Rob Lowe) go… (more)