Main cast: Francesca Annis (Sharon Bannister), Christopher Cazenove (Larry), Elizabeth Spriggs (Mrs Trask), Patrick Barlow (Joey Trask), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Brian Helgeland
Despite sharing the same title as a movie that came out in 1938, this A Slight Case of Murder has nothing to do with that movie. It is instead another comedy-mystery thing that relies heavily on gimmicky twists and turns rather than a good story.
Sharon Bannister is an author who still uses a typewriter to hammer out her mystery stories despite having also a desktop at her desk. Her neighbor Mrs Trask is a pushy woman with little sense of boundary – she often drops by Sharon’s apartment to ask whether the author has read Mrs Trask’s own writing and if yes, what does she think of it. Sharon’s response is appropriately negative as befitting an arrogant snob who only cares about herself, but Mrs Trask doesn’t seem to be fazed by the woman’s attitude at all. She takes every criticism Sharon lobs at her as some kind of precious lesson to be learned.
Our mystery author also has a secret: she’s estranged from her husband Larry, but she doesn’t want Mrs Trask and the others to know. Also, she comes off as a bit deranged as her paranoia seems way overblown. Just a small sound will send her grabbing for a poker, calling the cops, and hyperventilating all at once. What is going on here? Well, as it turns out, she’s not off in her paranoia: Larry suddenly shows up waving a gun, claiming that he wants her dead so that he can profit from the posthumous publication of her recently completed book while ranting that he knows that she’s cheating on him with that son of Mrs Trask. The last part… yeah, unless he knows Sharon has some kind of fetish for men with unfortunate-looking Elvis-ish sideburns , I don’t know what he is thinking.
Will Mrs Trask makes another one of her intrusive visits and somehow save Sharon from her husband? Or will things turn out really bad for our protagonist?
Well, I don’t care. A Slight Case of Murder is a preposterous, absurd story with a twist that makes zero sense, characters that are complete one-note bores, and a cast that is composed of folks who look like they just want filming to be over and they can move on with their lives. What happened – have these folks completely run out of ideas that they are now just throwing together dumb things to see which sticks? And sadly enough, nothing does here.