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Case Number 26604: Small Claims Court

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Killjoy (1981)

Warner Bros. // 1981 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // November 20th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis lost his dream of marrying a famous doctor a long time ago.

The Charge

Match wits with a killer.

The Case

I try to stay far away from television movies but, once in a while, a plot sounds a little promising and, especially if it's a mystery or suspense story, I'll give it a shot, though with deeply diminished expectations. I guess I didn't lower my standards nearly far enough with Killjoy, though, because this TV movie would have been better left on the floor of the writers' room of Murder, She Wrote.

At an exclusive private hospital, two young doctors are in love with Laury Medford (Kim Basinger, Never Say Never Again), the daughter of a hospital bigwig, though she's already chosen hotshot surgeon Paul (John Rubinstein, The Car) over nebbish pathologist Max (Stephen Macht, Graveyard Shift). Just after Paul asks Laury to marry him, Laury is given a mysterious key and a note from a woman addressed to Paul. When she confronts Paul about it, he claims ignorance, but then we find him at the woman's home. While there, a weird guy called Lou Corbin (Robert Culp, Sky Riders) shows up, claiming that he's been looking for her, and that she has disappeared. So begins a cat and mouse game with this trio, Max, and his controlling mother all vying to either find her or pin her disappearance on somebody else.

If you're looking for something suspenseful, a whodunit that'll keep you guessing until the very end, then look no further than anything but Killjoy, one of the dumbest mysteries I've ever seen. It's shallow and soapy, with characters that are not only unbelievable, but really poorly written. Poor writing is the main feature of Killjoy, while the terrible characters come in a close second. Everything else sits right at mediocre, making this the last mystery you want to pick up to satisfy a craving.

Director John Llewellyn Moxey made a career out of directing television mystery, including 18 episodes of Murder She Wrote. I guess he's right at home here, but it's still terrible, only serviceable as a showcase for a young Kim Basinger, but she feels so wrong for the part that it's a wonder she was able to get bigger roles in later years. Otherwise, this is an absolutely worthless movie with a sappy mystery, no suspense, and shoddy performances. There is absolutely nothing to see here.

Killjoy comes to DVD on-demand from the Warner Archives collection in a release typical of the label. The '1.33:1 image looks fine for an early-80s TV movie. There aren't any problems with the transfer, but there's nothing they can do about it looking like a TV movie, so it can only get so good. The stereo sound is perfectly acceptable, as well, the only problem being that what's coming out of the speakers is so dumb. As usual, no extras on the disc.

Even the most inane episode of CSI brings more suspense and a more interesting story than Killjoy. It's boring and worthless, about as dumb as television movies from that era could get. There's absolutely nobody outside of the most hardcore of Kim Basinger fans that I can recommend it to. There are twenty episodes of television every week that tell a more compelling mystery than this; I hate most of those shows out of hand, but I suggest, if you're looking for a mystery, to watch one of those instead.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Mystery
• Suspense
• Television
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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