Starring Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman, ‘Malice’ is an old school thriller that delivers suspense and twists throughout. Set in the present day (although this is from the early 90’s, I think) it follows the story of Tracy (Kidman) and Andy (Pullman), newlyweds who have just bought their dream house – but it needs a little work!
Andy is the assistant dean at the local university, whilst Tracy does volunteer work for a nursery and both are struggling to make ends meet as they have poured all their money into their new home. Whilst they try to balance the books and do some DIY on their place, Andy also hopes that Tracy will soon fall pregnant and complete his life ideal. However, in their ‘safe’ little haven, a rapist is on the loose, attacking students not outside, but lies in wait for them at their house. The campus cop believes it’s an inside job as the perpetrator seems to know when these young girls will be returning to their apartments so he can pounce. Things escalate when a student Andy has an appointment with, doesn’t show up and he decides to go to her house to see if she’s overslept. When he gets there, he finds evidence of foul play and discovers the body of the girl. He becomes a suspect in the case, which is viewed as the rapists progression from just rape to murder. Whilst all this is kicking off, the surgeon who worked on one of the rape victims turns out to be an old classmate of Andy’s. Admittedly, this surgeon, Jed (Baldwin) was not friends with Andy but seems to regret his ‘jock’ attitude of his schooldays and looks to almost make amends wih Andy. As a result, Andy feels a bit sorry for the new guy in town, and comes up with a plan that will help Jed out and bring him and Tracy a bit more cash – he rents the spare room to Jed. Tracy’s reaction was not quite what Andy was hoping for, but she reluctantly agrees. All is well, apart from the very noisy sex Jed has every night with a nurse, until Tracy succumbs to the terrible stomach pains she has been having. She had been seeing a consultant in Boston but no progress had been made and she ends up being rushed into hospital and being operated on by the cocky Jed. This marks the start of the end of everything that is Andy’s life…
Kidman plays the role of Tracy well, sucking in the viewer to her holier than thou persona. Pullman’s portrayal of Andy is no different to his portrayal of any other role he plays – Pullman is one of the last standing ‘character’ actors! Baldwin is smoulderingly sexy, taking every opportunity to show off his manly, hairy chest, never phased by anything thrown at him.
The music is rousing at certain points – you could almost just listen to the soundtrack and it would describe to you the pain and anguish Andy goes through, as well as building suspense at the right times. Saying that, I couldn’t now hum any of the soundtrack. It was fitting for the film, but not memorable!
Overall, ‘Malice’ is a prime example of the thriller genre. It compares well with such pieces as ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle’ and ‘Diabolique’ with it’s high profile cast, sex, violence and numerous twists. Its a great film to watch with the other half (or prospective other halves) as it gives you plenty of chance to snuggle in the scary bits and gasp together at the twists. Yes, it’s a bit dated but with some of the trash that has come out lately, you can seek refuge in this easy to watch flick.