(Fred Walton, USA, 1992)


It's amazing what changing the voice pattern on a hi-tech personal computer can do. When in Homewrecker a brilliant young scientist (Robby Benson) alters his latest invention so that it speaks not like a croaky male but a soft-spoken woman, 'Lucy' magically develops some amazing character traits.

She becomes nurturing, jealous, manipulative and eventually murderous, even developing a taste for Katharine Hepburn movies and James Taylor songs along the way (although Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" would be more appropriate).

This telemovie has some pretty elementary shock-horror effects, but it makes the most of its fanciful sci-fi premise, evoking pleasant memories of those uncontrollable machines with malevolent personalities that have populated films like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Demon Seed (1977).

Behind it is a true, unsung auteur – Fred Walton, creator of the remarkable When a Stranger Calls films (When a Stranger Calls Back is a '90s gem) and several remarkable telemovies.

Especially haunting is the array of visual signs denoting the domestic omnipresence of Lucy – like her cold video camera eye opening and closing its aperture. Offering a version of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle in an altogether different genre, it is an intriguing, enjoyable film.

© Adrian Martin July 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search