Directed by James Foley
Written by Christopher Crowe
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen, Alyssa Milano and Amy Brenneman.
This film has quite a few recognizable names. From Marky Mark himself to Alyssa Milano to Reese Witherspoon. Honestly, my favorite out of the whole lot would be William Peterson. I’m a huge fan.
It’s truly a tragic story that happens in this country more often than we’d like to believe. What seems like young and passionate love quickly turns into a battle for survival filled with torment and terror.
Mark Wahlberg plays David McCall. A broody young man with a mysterious bad-boy edge. Reese Witherspoon plays a teenaged girl named Nicole Walker. Nicole is quite the goody-goody. She’s the kind of girl that never does anything bad, never gets in any REAL trouble and NEVER disappoints her father, Steven Walker played by William Peterson.
David is not the kind of guy Mr. Walker wants his daughter dating. He’s got this “Eddie Haskell” air about him. He’s TOO nice and polite and sweet. It’s like he’s on overkill trying to impress adults. (If I were her parent I would have been suspicious right away also.) Precious and perfect little Nicole is attracted to David right away. Their relationship starts to move quickly into something very serious…in more ways than one.
Like all abusers, David can’t keep up the “good guy” charade for very long. He slowly but surely starts showing Nicole his mean and violent side. He assaults a very good male friend of Nicole’s. He pushes Nicole to the ground and in the scuffle, gives her a black eye. This leads to a break up. But, Nicole changes her mind and they start dating again and Nicole eventually has sex with David, solidifying their relationship and love in their eyes.
Now, Nicole has a best friend named Margo, played by Alyssa Milano. Margo is definitely the bad girl out of the two of them. She’s the one willing to drink and do drugs, sleep around, whatever. (I’m guessing not much of a self-esteem.) Margo is a good friend and is supportive of Nicole’s relationship…at first.
But, back to the fam. Mr. Walker is very leery of David. So much so that he looks into David’s background and finds out the guy has had a troubled and hard life growing up in the foster care system. Steven, having learned this information, decides to confront David while he’s away from Nicole. David slyly uses this opportunity to cause injury to himself and then he tells Nicole her father actually hit him. Nicole believes this and it strengthens the hold David has on her.
Soon after all this happens, David invites Nicole to a party. At first she says no but, after having a fight with her dad, she decides getting out for a bit will be good for her. When she gets to the house where the party is she sees Margo smoking crack and having sex with David. This crushes Nicole and makes her furious at the same time. She leaves without anyone seeing her and soon ends both her friendship with Margo and her relationship with David. Margo insists that David took advantage of her while she was high but, this doesn’t sway Nicole’s decision.
David also doesn’t take the end of the relationship well. He becomes completely obsessed with Nicole and begins stalking her. In an effort to get things back to the way he wants them, he follows Margo on the road, crashes into her car and chokes her while telling her that he will kill her if she doesn’t fix all this stuff with the and Nicole. Also, to get Gary (Nicole’s male friend) out of the way for good, David follows him home from school one day and kills him.
Steven receives a crude note from David pinned to his vandalized Mustang that really upsets him. This causes Steven to go to David’s house and while he is there, he finds a number of things that make Steven feel like David is trying to “take his place” in the Walker family. Steven gets enraged and trashes David’s house, which he shares with his roommate, Logan and three other people.
Realizing when he gets home that Steven has been there, David enlists his four roommates to help him break into the Walker home in retaliation. A number of bad things happen during this home invasion including Steven and his wife being taken hostage, Margo getting knocked out trying to come to Nicole’s rescue, the family dog getting decapitated and one of David’s roommates trying to rape Nicole. Eventually, David makes his way upstairs to where Nicole is hiding. Nicole’s little brother has escaped and uses the cell phone in the car to call 911. David starts lecturing Nicole on how much he loves her (yeah, right…) and how they belong together, nobody can keep them apart, blah blah blah. The usual psycho stalker babbling. What David doesn’t know is that Steven has gotten free thanks to the little brother and comes to the rescue and aid of his daughter. They fight, during which Nicole even stabs him in the back with a peace pipe, and eventually Steven throws him out the bedroom window.
At last they are all safe. David is dead.
I enjoyed this movie. Although quite predictable, I still thought it was good. It’s interesting to me how, in the 90s, Mark Wahlberg seemed to play the delinquent quite often. Talk about image and type casting. Luckily, things change.
What was also a little funny to me was that I didn’t think Reese Witherspoon was all that great in this. I actually think she was better in “Cruel Intentions” from 1999. Maybe she just had more experience by then. Again with the type casting though. Reese always seems to play the good girl next door kind of character.
It was nice to see William Peterson get angry and violent in this film. So often we think of Grissom on CSI when we think of him and Grissom is almost always very calm, cool and collected. This was a refreshing change on what we normally see from him.
The suspense is there well enough but, like I said, it’s a predictable movie. Still, it’s a great stalker story. The kind of movie that might make you think twice about dating or breaking up with someone. It is one of those movies where you just know something bad is going to happen, you just aren’t sure what or when.
This movie is definitely worth the watch, if you get the chance. It’s a good thriller movie.
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