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Lisa – 5


Director – Gary Sherman

Cast – Staci Keanan, Cheryl Ladd, D.W. Moffett, Tanya Fenmore, Jeffrey Tambor, Edan Gross, Julie Cobb

Release Year – 1990

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Lisa is a film that never would have interested me under normal circumstances, but when I saw the name Gary Sherman attached as the film’s director I decided that I HAD to see this effort thanks to awesome flicks Dead and Buried and Raw Meat, but I must regretfully say that Lisa is a film I wish I had stayed away from. More of a Lifetime film than a horror piece, this simple effort did little to show Gary Sherman’s directing talent with its mediocre storyline, and to make matters worse Gary Sherman failed to deliver on his direction as well.

Fourteen year old Lisa, lashing out at her overprotective mother, begins anonymously calling random men and shamelessly flirting with them for her own pleasure. Eventually she calls a wealthy businessman named Richard, but Richard is not just successful – he is a serial killer.

Going into this story I was hoping that it would provide some good creepy scenes in the When A Stranger Calls format, but sadly Lisa not only failed to provide such chills but actually hardly provided any chills at all. From the get-go we witness Lisa doing her “thing” and getting a hold of Richard at his job, and from then on out we are forced to watch her harass him, him try to figure out who she is, all building up to a climax where they obviously are finally pitted against each other. Lisa’s mother, Katherine plays a heavy role the film as Lisa’s main form of conflict due to Katherine’s heavy parenting on Lisa to focus on life and school instead of dating like all of her other friends. As mentioned earlier there is a “cat and mouse” element with Richard trying to cleverly outsmart Lisa and figure out who is calling him, but I never once found this element very interesting and felt that this story could have been written much better coming from Gary Sherman and Karen Clark.

Gary Sherman’s direction did not fare much better than his story, which surprised me given the excellence of his earlier works. His atmosphere was good and the sets used were positive, but at the same time the film suffered because the positive sets mentioned were rarely used during the scare sequences and only during the standard (boring) happenings of the film. Sherman gets decent acting performances from his actors, with D. W. Moffett stealing the show as Richard the serial killer. So how was the horror during the few times it surfaced? I cannot believe I’m saying this, but the horror was pretty bad too. Sherman’s execution did little to strike fear in the viewer and his music used during the horror scenes was utterly pathetic and also did nothing to provide fear, making for one truly disappointing effort from a man I believed to be a solid director.

Overall, Lisa is a flick I would avoid unless you enjoy Lifetime-esque films with little conflict that builds up to an unsatisfying closing sequence. This one had potential, but I would skip this if I were you.

Rating: 5/10

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