Saturday, May 2, 2009

EVERYONE HAS A BREAKING POINT. 'WHILE SHE WAS OUT' WAS OURS.

Suburban housewife Kim Basinger is forced to fend for herself when she becomes stranded in a desolate forest with four murderous thugs led by a horrifically miscast Lukas Haas! What starts off as a quick trip to the mall ends in the woods with a fight for her life. All she has is a toolbox and her will to survive.

"...truly exceptional..." says Ain’t It Cool News

"...a first rate performance by Kim Basinger" exclaims LA Weekly

"Amazing and Truly Creepy" raves Film Fetish.com

"Ordinary and Truly Tepid" say we.

Apart from the occasional gratuitous graphic violence, WHILE SHE WAS OUT never rises above what it truly is; a woman-in-peril TV movie of the week (circa 1974) that probably would have starred Elizabeth Montgomery. Although Liz would have given a more compelling portrayal and probably would have nixed squeaky voiced Lukas Haas as the chief baddie. (Haas is not so much threatening as he is irritating.) The film is not even unintentionally funny. But there are plenty of eye-rolling moments. . .

On Christmas Eve, Basinger leaves her two darling twinsies at home with her abusive husband whiles she goes out to get wrapping paper at the mall. On the way, she realizes that her cell phone is dying and she's

neglected to bring the charger with her. Naturally, once at the over-crowded mall parking lot, she leaves an insulting note on the windshield of a car that is taking up two spaces. This turns out to be one really stupid move - in a film dedicated to stupid moves - because the car belongs to a melting pot of amatuer thugs who are out for trouble. Things go from bad to worse for our poor stupid (albeit plucky) heroine, and she finds that she is forced to defend herself (rather nastily) with nothing but her trusty red toolbox.

Sounds fairly interesting but, amazingly, nothing that follows elicits true scares (or even unintended chuckles) - just groans. At one point, Basinger is seen standing in a brook in the middle of the woods repeating "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." and you get the distinct feeling the apology is to the viewer and not to the last two bad guys that she dispatched. And the baddies really are horribly bad at being bad. They probably would have a difficult time against a blind nun.

The film is not just inept, it's terrible. The 86 minute running time seems interminable. (Most of it seems like filler.) Perhaps this should have been a 22 minute segment in some horror anthology. (One of the lesser segments to be sure, but at least short enough to forget after you've hopefully gone on to a better one.)

As to the spectacular "surprise" ending, we defy anyone not to have it figured out long before Basinger gets to the mall.

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I'm just an ordinary housewife and mother...just like all you ordinary housewives and mothers out there.

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