Lisa (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray)

Director - Gary Sherman

Cast - Stacey Keenan, Cheryl Ladd, D.W. Moffe

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 1

Distributor - Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Reviewer - Brad Hogue

Date - 11/07/15

The Film (4/5)

 

Lisa (Stacey Keenan - My Two Dads, Step by Step) is a 15 year old girl who's mother Katherine (Cheryl Ladd - Charlie's Angels, Satan's School For Girls) won't allow her to date until she is 16. Katherine had Lisa at 14 and doesn't want her daughter to make the same mistakes that she did, while Lisa resents Katherine, feeling that she is responsible enough to make her own decisions. Lisa and her friend Wendy have devised a game where they stalk older men, obtain their phone numbers by calling the DMV with their license plate numbers, and then calling them pretending to be older, of age women.

 

Lisa's latest gentleman conquest is Richard (D. W. Moffett - Pacific Heights, Twisted) a restaurant manager who happens to also be The Candlelight Killer. Richard has committed a series of murders of women whereupon he breaks into their houses, lights candles, leaves them a message on their answering machine saying he is going to kill them, then kills them in a ritualized sex style murder. Lisa eggs Richard on and on, going as far as eating at his restaurant and sending him a love note with the bill, which was paid with a credit card with Katherine's name and address on it. Richard then targets Katherine in a surprisingly violent conclusion.

 

I saw Lisa on cable when I was a kid. Apparently it played on Lifetime but Lisa, while certainly in the mold of Lifetime thrillers, is elevated by the talent involved. It was produced by former Paramount executive Frank Yablans (brother Irwin produced Halloween 1-3 and Hell Night) and directed by Gary Sherman who directed horror films Raw Meat (Death Line), Dead And Buried, and my favorite of the series, the underrated Poltergeist III. Stacey Keenan was well known as the lead in My Two Dads and does an excellent job of playing Lisa as a girl who thinks she is savvy but really is quite naive. In the end, she proves herself unworthy of the trust she seeks from her mother.

 

It's a great look back at the last full decade that we were without cell phones, the internet and all the modern conveniences. Today Lisa might set up a fake Facebook page complete with pictures instead of the landline and she would do her research on the internet instead of having to call the DMV. The film brings to mind William Castle's I Saw What You Did, with a girl calling a stranger who happens to be a murderer but Lisa diverts from that pretty quickly. There's a solid examination of the mother daughter relationship that doesn't come off as hokey or dated as it certainly could. To sum up, Rick Springfield said it best, "Don't Talk To Strangers".

 

 

Audio/Video (4/5)

 

Kino and Scorpion provide Lisa on a dual layered 1080p MPEG-4 AVC AVC Blu-ray with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Colors were solid and it really looked quite nice, especially considering it's early 90's vintage. Audio is presented in the form of a DTS- HD Master audio 2.0 track and dialogue and soundtrack both sounded clear. No subtitles are included.

 

Extras (4/5)

 

Kino/Scorpion Releasing have included the following extras: an audio commentary with director Gary Sherman, an interview with D.W. Moffett, an interview with director Gary Sherman and editor Ross Albert and a trailer.

 

Overall

 

Lisa is a great look back at the Lifetime style thrillers of the early 90's and there is real talent involved. It bumps up against the PG-13 rating (of the time) and is worth your time if you are so inclined. It's got some style and it plays out in a little bit of a different way than might be expected.