While characters in horror films have often exhibited poor judgment and a certain recklessness when it comes to self-preservation, their collective stupidity may not prepare you for the foolish victims in MURDER-IN-LAW.
Bill (Joe Estevez) shows little surprise when his mother Milly (Marilyn Adams) shows up on his doorstep after an absence of ten years, supposedly spent in Paris. No wonder there have been few postcards; Milly has, in fact, just killed an attendant and escaped from a lunatic asylum. Bill and his
sheltered suburban family--wife Arlene (Sandy Snyder), daughter Melissa (Rebecca Russell), and son Todd (Daniel Guilbeau)--remain remarkably impervious to some rather telegraphic signs that Milly is not well: she throws food at the family's loyal domestic Carmen (Debra Lee Gimoetti); trashes
Arlene's bedroom; and steals her daughter-in-law's evening gown to go solo dancing in the downtown streets. Bill's suspicions are still not aroused when the family cat is poisoned, or when Carmen, who has never missed a day's work, fails to show up. (She's been brutally ironed to death by Milly,
who apparently didn't like her wrinkles).
Only when the distraught Arlene snoops around and finds an asylum nightgown does Bill take steps to have Mom locked up. This accomplished, Bill decides to leave his wife and daughter home alone while he and Todd go fishing. Milly escapes, returns, stabs Melissa, fatally slashes Melissa's
boyfriend Eric (Gary Dehart), and stalks the much-tougher Arlene all over the house. Up on the roof, the wily daughter-in-law triumphs as Milly tumbles several stories to her death.
If you've ever found yourself yelling "Don't go in the basement!" to people onscreen, you are likely to emerge with severe laryngitis after viewing the idiot-suburbanites in this camped-up slasher film. No family could be as blind to danger as this bunch. In the ineptitude department, though,
they are matched by the filmmakers. A low, low budget notwithstanding, MURDER-IN-LAW is a poorly written, ham-fistedly directed shambles. To add insult to injury, the movie uses the mad mother-in-law as the butt of endless offensive "gags" about the insane. The performance of Joe Estevez, brother
of Martin Sheen, should single-handedly inspire a moratorium on the hiring of relatives of major stars. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: While characters in horror films have often exhibited poor judgment and a certain recklessness when it comes to self-preservation, their collective stupidity may not prepare you for the foolish victims in MURDER-IN-LAW. Bill (Joe Estevez) shows little s… (more)