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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

By-the-numbers suspense

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 2, 1992 -- ``The Hand That Rocks The Cradle'' is a remarkably successful thriller that has been racking up about $5 million a week in ticket sales since opening in January and it is finally here.

The film starts out very deliberately and there are virtually no surprises as the plot plods slowly and predictably along. After the first few minutes you know exactly what is going to happen at the end of the film. The plot concerns a woman's (Rebecca DeMornay) plans for revenge against another woman (Annabella Sciorra) whom she blames for the death of her husband and child.

All of the woman's plots work out nearly perfectly and she is poised to take over the family and take the place of the woman she hates when at last something goes wrong with her plan.

That's when the film starts to get interesting. There are some genuine shocks near the end of the film. When I went to see it here I heard some screaming from some women in the audience at this point of the film. The movie also has some humorous moments.

The director, Curtis Hanson, does a good job setting up the killer-in-the-creepy-dark-house sequence near the end of the film. There are a few surprises and some clever misdirection, but it does take a long time to get there.

This movie is pure schlock, but it does have its moments. The acting is passable with a couple of good performances, one by Ernie Hudson, who was one of the Ghostbusters in those two popular films. The handyman part was originally written for a white actor, but Hudson was able to successfully campaign for the part. His performance is a bright spot in the film. I hope he is able to get more good roles in the future. He has not gotten much work during the past few years.

This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)