Friday, 13 September 2013

The Glow (2002)

A slick, enjoyable TV movie, The Glow benefits from some fun performances, an enjoyable premise and the way that the film unfolds with the viewers staying at least two steps ahead of the central characters.

Dean Cain plays Matt Lawrence, a man who is mugged while out jogging in the first scene of the film. He is approached, and befriended, by some elderly people who offer to let him use their home and telephone to contact his wife, Jackie (Portia de Rossi). By the time Jackie arrives, Matt has well and truly made friends with his saviours. In fact, they've all been getting on so well that Matt has been told about a vacant apartment in the block that could be just perfect for he and his wife. The other tenants own the block, and therefore keep the rents within reason, and really seem to take a shine to the "youngsters" so it's not long until Matt and Jackie cave in and accept the offer. But it also not long until Jackie starts to suspect that all isn't as it seems. Her elderly neighbours are quite obsessed with health and fitness, people start to go missing and events start to seem as if they are being manipulated to take both Matt and Jackie to a certain point.

Directed competently enough by Craig R. Baxley, and written by Gary Sherman (who adapted the book by Brooks Stanwood), The Glow is nonsense, but it doesn't put on any airs and graces. Despite the ridiculous premise, it plays everything straight and relatively safe. Think of it as an extended episode of Goosebumps for adults and you're on the right track.

Cain and de Rossi are okay in the lead roles, with the latter overacting just enough to add some amusement to the proceedings, but it's the older cast members who make this more enjoyable than it should be. Hal Linden and Dina Nerrill both have a twinkle in their eyes, and Grace Zabriskie plays a character with a tongue as sharp as her attitude. Sabrina Grdevich and Jason Blicker play the obligatory friends who get caught up in the situation as things eventually become clear in the second half, and Phoenix Gonzales and Nelson Tynes are two other, non-OAP, tenants in the building.

Although it doesn't include anything extra to spice up the material, this is solid entertainment. I was never bored, I wanted the central characters to realise what they were getting into as events unfolded, and I'd watch it again if it ever came on TV and I was too far away from the remote control. It's nothing special, but it's not bad. It's not bad at all.


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