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Kathleen Quinlan

Trapped (1989) Starring Kathleen Quinlan, Bruce Abbott, Katy Boyer, Ben Loggins, Tyrees Allen, Miles Mutchler, Wirt Cain, Bill Whitehead, Julius Tennon.

Directed by Fred Walton.

Running time: 93 minutes.

Rating: PG

Building property manager Mary-Anne Marshall (Quinlan) has thrown herself into her work with glee since her split from her husband in which was burned by a family law civil action. She stays at the office well after sunset afraid to engage the local social scene because of how hurt and weary she feels since her divorce. She is also not particularly eager to return to her house and face another quiet evening watching reruns of Kojak.

Everyone else leaves but her, her ditsy friend, the security guy and a scary stranger or two. She watches helplessly as her friend is killed. The security guy is dead too though she didn’t see it happen. It is obvious the security breach has put her in harm’s way and if it isn’t obviously an emergency corpses are a tell-tale warning sign.

If she can avoid a nervous breakdown she might be able to get it together long enough to find the doors and escape. Petrified by fear it is several hours before she can mobilise herself to move from her hiding place. A man outside is probably hunting her and if she so much as flicks on a light switch he may find her.

Some people, I’m guessing a lot, find empty buildings at night to be scary things. Personally I find them rather peaceful. But I guess a desolate location can creep people out. What a break for film-makers since they can usually get an empty building at night pretty cheap as a location. What a break for building rental agents that they can get the extra money renting a building at night with no real hassle.

An impeccably dressed and groomed industrial spy (Abbott) with a philosophy along the lines of “If you’re not cheating you’re not trying” presents himself and promises he isn’t the killer. Though hardly at the risk of immediate beautification he is not completely without empathy and compassion as it pertains to Mary-Anne though whether she can help him escape and that she can provide him a less than perfect alibi for the murders. It is hardly a sweet setting for a perfect romance to begin but we get hints one is in the offing.

Where the movie lost me was a little over forty minutes in when our heroine hides from the baddie by holding a rope-line and hangs from the side of the building. Far from anybody’s first choice for a hiding place and I would guess not the first choice for a character whom we already know has a fear of heights. She falls onto a window washers platform, gets back in the building without even losing her pumps.

It is the high water mark for sheer lunacy in this narrative, one which also includes a pair of fierce primates there for no readily apparent reason. Did somebody in the production company get some kind of deal on using zoo animals? The dimwitted folly of it is made more inexplicable by the fact that there are so many plausible aspects depicted.

Notes:

Kathleen Quinlan married Bruce Abbott five years after this film.