PERFECT PREY: WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS II
Whereas When the Bough Breaks did some original things with the forensic psychology/serial killer thriller, Perfect Prey heads into more traditional territory. The plot parallels The Silence of the Lambs in a number of ways. David Keith and his penchant for abducting women and locking them up before killing them, as well as his apparently confused gender issues, are far too close to Jame Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs, for instance. The heroines obsessive tracking of the killer before he kills his next victim and the climactic scenes where she tracks down his street address and ventures into his house alone without backup are copied directly from The Silence of the Lambs. All that Perfect Prey lacks is a character like Hannibal Lecter, although Clayton Murrays performance as a crazed Death Row inmate who claimed responsibility for Audreys abduction in the past is clearly an attempt to inject some of this into the mix.
For all that, Perfect Prey is not too badly written. The character tensions between Audrey and the other detectives on the Houston police force are well drawn and scriptwriter Robert McDonnell throws in some reasonable twists. If there had been someone like Michael Cohn who directed When the Bough Breaks at the helm, Perfect Prey could have been a fair effort; alas, the film suffers from bland direction that fails to grasp many of the opportunities for suspense.
Kelly McGillis makes a striking substitution for Ally Walker. She gives a much harsher and more burned out performance than Ally Walker did indeed, Kelly McGilliss Audrey is at such removes from Ally Walkers interpretation that they could be two separate characters in different films. McGillis is also lumbered by a most unbecoming haircut, although she at least does a fair job of looking drab and burned-out. David Keith is perhaps a little too chirpy and far too much like Ted Levine in The Silence of the Lambs to fully convince, although there is a certain fascination to seeing him work his charms at the fair and especially in the scene where he confronts Kelly McGillis there. Bruce Dern seems miscast it seems harder to think of anyone less suited to substituting for Martin Sheen, who is known for his cool-headed nice guy performances, than Dern who has a history as bug-eyed crazies.