From the moment you see Susan Tyrrell with a child in her arms as the opening credits roll, you have this impending feeling of doom. Something seems off with this scene, but you can't place your finger on it yet. There is something written all over her face, but it is going to take awhile for all the facets to be stripped away and the truth revealed, but once it happens, you are in for one of the wildest rides of your life. NIGHT WARNING does not hold back and it out to toss anything and everything at you all at once! Hold on!
NIGHT WARNING has one objective and that is to make you squirm. It revels in playing with your sanity and bounces you up and down on the ick scale. It cannot be bothered with your comfort level. It goes above and beyond, then rockets to the moon! Destination moon!!
A fun loving couple wave good-bye to their toddler son as Susan Tyrrell presses him tightly against her bosom. She smiles and politely waves back. Promising to return for their son, the fun-loving couple drive off to some area where all the roads are extremely downhill. When the brakes fail, the fun-loving couple know they are toast. what happens next is what i consider a WOW! opener of a movie. An excruciatingly shot decapitation is so impressive that it resurfaces in a flashback later in the movie, with the same effect! With one passenger down, the woman of the fun-loving couple goes through hell in less than 20 seconds! In a sequence that mixes shock with a rebel rousing spirit, the audience it thrust into pure horror then immediately burst into laughter! That is hard to pull off! Destination moon!!!
Flash forward 15 years and we are smack dab in the middle of the once toddler son's high school life. He has morphed in the body of Jimmy McNichol (yes, Kristy's little brother) and has secured himself a girlfriend, played by Julia Duffy, whose name just happens to be Julia. EASY casting! He also is the star player of the basketball team and the coach has his eye on him, if you catch my drift. Susan T. still reigns supreme as his adopted mother now and she also has her eye on him. He goes through various stages of undress throughout the first half of the movie, with both Susan T. and the basketball coach inapporiately touching him and giving him longingly looks of lust. His girlfriend is content to just hold hands and discuss feelings, which also seems fine with him too. We also get a sexy bully. I always love a sexy bully. And one played by a young Bill Paxton! Hotness abounds.
On Billy's, Jimmy McNichol's character, birthday he gets the biggest surprise of his life so far. His legal guardian murders the electrician in a desperate act of loneliness and an overblown libido. Billy walks into the house and welcoming him is his aunt covered in blood and barely dressed. The electrician is spawned out on the floor with a knife sticking out of his back and blood is EVERYWHERE! Susan T. begs him to help her, but being a good guy he calls the police, which immediately think that Billy killed the guy out of jealousy after catching his aunt sexing it up with him. When Susan T. cries rape, they soon discover that he couldn't have raped her, because he is a homosexual or as the sheriff likes to say, FAG! And he says it over and over and over again. I counted at least 20 times in about 15 minutes. A record maybe? So the police then discover that the dead dude has a boyfriend and his is Billy's basketball coach and they deduce that Billy STILL killed him in a jealous rage of homosexual love! Billy cannot win. And this is all in the first 30 minutes!!! We still have 45 minutes to go!!!
NIGHT WARNING does not even teeter on the line of going over the top. It just goes there and if you aren't willing to go with it, then it just leaves you behind. The plot gets more and more complex and confusing, without being annoying. You have to search for clues just like Billy and Julia have to do. They climb up in the attic, they dig around the house, read police reports and ask all the right questions. All while Susan T. is going deeper and deeper into full tilt insanity. She is that level of crazy, that is someone walked past her on the street, they wouldn't think a thing, but the moment she opened her mouth, the truth would be exposed. She cannot hide it very well.
When Julia and Billy figure it all, but need some good evidence, they hatch a plan that involves distracting Susan T. Sounds easy. It isn't. The movie flips from thriller to horror film, as all the characters collide with each other and the body counts rises so fast, you start to lose count on who died. NIGHT WARNING waits for no one!
With so much going on and with a plot so twisted, most actors would not be able to pull it off. NIGHT WARNING filled it's cast with reliable character actors and lesser known people. Julia Duffy is wonderful as girl in peril, but smart enough to get herself out of a messy situation. Jimmy McNichol is quiet and plays the loner stuff up nicely. Even Bo Sevnson as the homo-hating sheriff is good. But, honestly the movie belongs to Susan Tyrrell. I have never seen a performance like this in a film. Susan is like a hurricane in just about any film she is in, but in NIGHT WARNING she is doing it up, sister!! Think Grace Zabriskie, but sexy. or Sexier, depending on how high your Grace Z. sexy level is. Nobody seems to know what to do with Susan Tyrrell. She is one of a kind and something of a kindred spirit. I appreciate anyone who always gives it their all. Susan does just that.
From the great cover box (that lends you no clues to the plot) to the movie's finale, you will find yourself shocked over and over again. And that is what NIGHT WARNING sets out to do!