by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I think the most entertaining way to describe Malicious is to do so in the form of a guessing game. I'm going to write out the entire storyline, and you see if you can name another film (an earlier, more famous one) with the exact same plot.

A laid-back, small-town hero up in the Pacific Northwest hopes to make it in the big time in San Francisco. He's lonely one night and ends up being cornered into a one-night stand with a local woman who is a fan of his. She turns out to be more than a fan. She is obsessed with him, and we come to realize that she is also stark raving mad. After their time together, she constructs an imaginary relationship with him and carries on as if the relationship were real. She often drops in unexpectedly, acting as if she were expected.

The situation worsens when the man's regular girlfriend returns to the area, and the stalker becomes livid with jealousy. The madwoman does everything she can to poison the couple's relationship, and even tries to kill him, but he narrowly escapes. The man then comes to realize that the stalker may try to kill his girlfriend. The situation comes to a head when the man realizes that his girlfriend's new roommate is ... the stalker, using a different name!

He rushes through San Francisco to his girlfriend's apartment, and finds that an investigating policeman has been already been murdered there. The stalker then attacks our hero with a knife. The climax of the film occurs when our hero is lucky enough to land a hard blow to the knife-wielding psychopath, causing her to fall from an upper story to her death below.



Have you locked in your guess?



The answer is that Malicious is the grade-B rip-off of ... (suspenseful music) ... Play Misty For Me.

There are some differences, of course. Just enough to avoid any lawsuits. For example, the hero in Play Misty for Me is a small-time Carmel DJ hoping to break through to a major station in the San Francisco area, while the hero in Malicious is a small-college baseball player in Vancouver trying to land a spot with the San Francisco Giants. Apart from that, the most significant variations revolve around some flashbacks and background material which explain why the stalker is so crazy.

Malicious has some other problems besides being derivative. One important scene transition seems to need a connecting scene, and the characterizations offer little more than the genre's usual by-the-numbers cardboard cut-outs to drive the plot along. Patrick McGaw lacks any spark, brings nothing memorable to the lead role, and takes the concept of laid-back to the extreme in a low-octane performance. His performances in the batters' box also ring false. McGaw is small, doesn't take a very powerful cut, and is completely unconvincing as a power hitter with major league potential. The only major leaguer he could play convincingly would be Eddie Gaedel. McGaw isn't the only problem with the baseball scenes, which are totally boring in general, and mostly just show the batter, catcher, and umpire from a pitcher-cam.

Despite its flaws Malicious is not a totally awful movie. It has some moments of suspense, and Molly Ringwald does a pretty good job in the Jessica Walter role as the stalker, although the film was not exactly the springboard to adult success that she might have hoped for. She still works regularly, but never could achieve a level of adult stardom to match her popularity as a teen icon in the mid eighties. On the other hand, she has had a better post-Malicious career than the film's other principals. The film's director, Ian Courson, never directed again; the film's writer had no further credits of any kind at IMDb; and actor Patrick McGaw disappeared from the TV/film world about six years ago.


Unfortunately, the newly-issued DVD seems like a leftover from the 1990s. There are no features at all, and there's no widescreen version. Worse still, the full frame rendering is a sometimes clumsy effort which occasionally seems to be missing such vital details as the sides of heads. Even if you've been waiting for this film, you'll be disappointed if you add it to your collection. If curiosity gets the best of you, either rent it or wait for it to hit the bargain bin.


0 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


4.7 IMDB summary (of 10)









  • Molly Ringwald showed off her curves in a topless scene, and surprised just about everyone at the time with her large, firm breasts. Who knew?
  • Sarah Lassez showed first one breast, then the other, in a library feel-up.




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


If there were a good version of this film on the DVD, Malicious would be a C- on our scale rather than a lower grade because genre lovers might enjoy it if they have not seen too many similar movies, and nudity lovers will almost surely enjoy the one and only good look at Molly Ringwald's impressive breasts!