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Murder Story (1989)


In retrospect, there were parts of Murder Story (1989) that I enjoyed. However, when I consider the experience of watching it, it’s nothing more than a slightly better than straight-to-VHS movie. No surprise, Christopher Lee is terrific in it, but it’s Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from Angel) in his first movie role that kept me intrigued.

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Denisof plays Tony Zonis, a college student who’s an aspiring novelist and admirer of Lee’s character, Willard Hope, a successful author whose popularity is waning. After a coincidental appearance at a book signing, and even more coincidental discovery that they live in proximity, the two join forces to investigate disparate clues that may solve a larger mystery.

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The title and synopsis I provided are a little misleading. This isn’t the kind of “murder” you immediately think it is. It’s part of a global conspiracy with a cast of shady characters whose allegiances you never discover. In fact, the bad guys may all be playing on the same team.

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This leads to an interesting exchange between Tony and Larry Deleo (Jeff Harding), one of the possible villains (but maybe the least harmful of them.) When Larry mentions “Washington,” Tony asks, “What if Washington IS ‘them’?” Naïve considering he’s in the middle of it, Larry responds, “Doesn’t anyone believe in good guys and bad guys anymore?”

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Seemingly out of place in a story like this is the heavy inclusion of motorbikes. A long opening sequence features them wreaking havoc all over town. While they eventually lead to the introduction of Tony, they disappear from the narrative until one is needed late in the film for Tony to escape. Sadly, this leads to the inclusion of a slow-motion jump over a ditch.

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That, as well as the synthesized score, date Murder Story to the 1980s. Oddly, those are about the only things that tie the movie to a particular era. The rest of it is oddly generic. The writer/director team of Eddie Arno and Markus Innocenti made mostly music videos before this. This explains the lack of substance, but I’m surprised there isn’t more style.



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