29 March 2000 | Carlo Houtkamp
I love this film...
The Stranger Within is a film I think I am in love with. It does have more than one flaw (we all do) but I keep watching it over and over again. The film's quality outweighs the minor flaunts (which include some cliches, like a heroic cop trying to come to the rescue) by far. For one, there is Kate Jackson's as well as Rick Schroder's terrific acting. These two actors seem to be made for each other and the way they score in The Stranger Within just screams for more joint ventures. Tom Holland did a wonderful job directing them and I hope the three of them will work together once more. The story by John Pielmeier is stirring, gripping, suspenseful and even credible (although he really should have abandoned that cop story line). He uses everyday situations and events, and what I like most about his narrative is the emphasis on emotions and humanity. The script does not judge any of the characters and we really sympathize with all of them. It makes The Stranger Within a tragedy as much as a mystery. The sudden violence is not subtle, but it nevertheless results in some clever and fascinating scenes and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Violence and tragedy keep taking turns appealing to the viewer's imagination and compassion and especially the scenes of Schroder and Jackson in the kitchen, where naturalness as well as impact of the dialogues reach the highest levels, are stunning. The music by Vladimir Horunzhy is sober and electronic and that suits this film remarkably well.
I just wonder why Tom Holland made this film for television and not for theater release. It would have been a hit in European film houses, and wide screen format would have done more justice to the solid camera work by James Hayman and crew. Therefore I suggest The film will be remastered and provided with full opening and end credits in order to prepare it for international theater release. Maybe Holland still has some cut scenes which should be in it and could be inserted. I don't think the film will ever become a hype (thank god) but it does not deserve to be lost in oblivion