[Screen It]


(1995) (Sally Field, Kiefer Sutherland) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Mild Heavy Moderate Mild
Mild None Moderate None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Mild Moderate Moderate Heavy

The mother of a teen who is raped and killed seeks revenge on the assailant.
Karen (SALLY FIELD) and Mack McCann’s (ED HARRIS) teenage daughter Julie is brutally raped and murdered by Robert Doob (KIEFER SUTHERLAND), a low-life bottom feeder who is caught but later freed due to a technicality. Stricken with grief and angered that her daughter’s killer is walking the streets a free man, Karen becomes obsessed with him. This worries Detective Sgt. Denillo (JOE MANTEGNA), the investigating cop who believes she has gone over the edge. While caring for Megan, their youngest daughter, Mack also grows concerned as Karen becomes more involved with several members of a grief support group who take care of their problems in a special way: Vigilante style. As Doob begins to feel Karen’s increased scrutiny, he turns up the pressure on her until there’s a final violent showdown.
Probably not. Sutherland is the only possible draw for the younger set and the subject matter isn’t necessarily that which young kids want to see.
For language and disturbing violence which includes rape.
  • SALLY FIELD plays the grief stricken mother who believes the only way for justice to prevail is for her or someone else to kill Doob. While one can certainly understand her anger, she does plan to commit murder.
  • KIEFER SUTHERLAND plays the rapist/murderer who cares for no living being, whether it is a dog, teenager, or married woman.


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    While the plot is intriguing, several scenes are suspenseful, and everyone identifies with Karen’s anger, we’ve seen this story, or a variation of, it many times before. The change here is that the victim turned vigilante is a woman and a mother. While that proves interesting, the acting is uneven at times and ruins the feeling of the story. I just didn’t believe that these people had just lost a daughter to such a horrible crime. While Field grieves a little, Harris, who is usually superb, seems stilted and unsure of how to act. If it were me, I couldn’t live or at least be in the same room where the rape/murder occurred without breaking down. After the first scene or two, they’re not acting that upset. And there’s never a doubt how Karen is going to resolve her problem. Sutherland plays the bad guy (a role he now seems stuck in), but doesn’t do anything special in the role. While it may rev up your emotions, it turns out to be something we’ve pretty much seen before. We give it a 5 out of 10.
    There’s some harsh stuff to trod through here. There are rapes, murders and the planning for a retaliatory murder. Profanity is heavy, but pales compared to the previously mentioned material. Parents should seriously consider whether their kids should see this at all, and if so, whether they are mature enough to handle the subject material. As always, read through the category listings.

  • Karen is give a cigarette and a glass of wine by a comforting friend who has the same herself.
  • People on the streets, near where Doob lives, are seen smoking and drinking.
  • Mack drinks a beer while working at home.
  • Julie is somewhat bloody after Doob's attack on her.
  • Doob's next victim is also seen dead and somewhat bloody.
  • Doob is quite bloody and leaves a blood stain on Karen after she's shot him.
  • Doob has no respect for anything. He rapes and kills and even pours hot coffee on a passing dog. He also has no remorse for his actions and mockingly says "Sorry" to Karen and Mack in the courthouse after he's been released due to a technicality.
  • Although we can certainly understand Denillo's anger, he does threaten and roughs up Doob in a stockroom.
  • Similarly, we understand Karen's anger and frustration, but she does meet with a vigilante group and plans to kill Doob.
  • The scene where Karen listens on the phone as her daughter is raped and killed is very disturbing (and listed in detail in "Violence").
  • As Karen and Mack walk Megan through a botanical garden, Karen soon starts seeing every man there as the assailant. As Megan runs ahead of her parents, Karen freaks out.
  • Doob goes and visits little Megan at her playground. Although he doesn't do anything to her, just his presence and the fact that we know what he's doing makes this scene suspenseful.
  • Doob then confronts Karen, and showing that he's now friends with Megan, tells her to stay out of his neighborhood and he'll stay out of hers. He then says that he not fond of "kiddie p*ssy," but in this case he might make an exception.
  • Karen leaves a support group meeting at night and walks unattended to her car that's parked in a parking garage. She notices someone following behind her and soon realizes that this person's gaining ground on her. Once inside the garage she attacks the man (who turns out wasn't following her).
  • Doob attacks another woman in her house after delivering groceries there (see "Violence" for details).
  • Karen breaks into Doob's small apartment and starts rifling through his stuff. Meanwhile, he's on his way home while she continues to go through his belongings. When he finally gets there, he finds his place a mess, but all he finds of her is her hat she left behind.
  • There's the final confrontation scene between Doob and Karen where he's coming after her at night when she's alone in the house (for details see "Violence").
  • Ice sculpture: Used to deliver the final, fatal blow to Julie.
  • Gun: Mentioned as the murder weapon of a child during a parents' support group meeting.
  • Handgun: Karen is seen training with one, and the later is given one by the vigilante group.
  • Handgun: Used by Karen to shoot Doob.
  • Phrases: "Bitch," "Piss" and "Balls."
  • Some kids laugh as one of the family's aunts trips and falls over a toy in the living room.
  • Doob pours a cup of hot coffee onto a passing dog.
  • Doob urinates in a customer's yard (where he just delivered groceries).
  • Phrase (told to Megan by Doob): "Tough titty said the kitty, but the milk's still good."
  • None.
  • Several scenes are accompanied by moderately suspenseful music.
  • None.
  • 14 "f" words (1 used sexually, 2 with the prefix "mother"), 6 "s" words, 10 hells, 2 "ass" words, 3 damns, 3 slang terms for breasts (the "t" word), 1 slang term each for male and female genitals (the "d" and "p" words) and 2 uses each of "God damn" and "My God," and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Oh God," and "God" as exclamations.
  • Karen and Mack get intimate in bed, but all we see is kissing. There's no nudity or sexual movement.
  • Karen is give a cigarette and a glass of wine by a comforting friend who has the same herself.
  • Doob is often seen smoking cigarettes.
  • People on the streets, near where Doob lives, are seen smoking and drinking.
  • The head of the vigilante group smokes a cigarette.
  • The family must deal with the grief and anger over their daughter's murder.
  • Megan asks her parents where Julie is (the day after).
  • Karen and Mack attend a support group where there are many angry and grieving parents.
  • Megan thinks that because Julie's murder occurred on her (Megan's) birthday, all of what happened is her fault. Karen explains that it's not.
  • Whether something like the rape/murder will occur in your family (kids might be worried about that after watching this).
  • Vigilante activity and whether it's justified when the court system breaks down and lets someone go due to a minor technicality.
  • Karen finds out that her new female friend from the support group is married -- to another woman.
  • Karen listens in horror (over the telephone) as her daughter Julie is attacked by someone who grabs her after ringing the doorbell. The sequence switches between the attack and Karen running for help (she's stuck in bumper to bumper traffic). The assailant throws Julie around the living room and then rapes her (all we see is him briefly between her legs -- but the actual rape is not seen). Tthe assailant then strangles her and finally kills her by striking her head with a large ice sculpture.
  • At a parents' support group, parents talk about how they lost their kids, including one where the child was shot in the head.
  • After Doob has been released due to a technicality (and after he mocked Karen), Mack rushes over and attacks him, only to be pulled away by the police.
  • Denillo goes to see Doob and after threatening him to stop his bad ways, slams him back against a wall and then pulls out his gun placing it under Doob's chin. Since Doob won't be intimidated by such actions and yells back at him, Denillo then grabs Doob by the crotch and threatens to kill him if he keeps up his actions.
  • At a support group meeting, Karen hears that a murderer was killed (by a vigilante).
  • Doob confronts Karen, and showing that he's now friends with Megan, tells her to stay out of his neighborhood and he'll stay out of hers. He then says that he not fond of "kiddie p*ssy," but in this case he might make an exception.
  • Karen attacks a man she thought was following her. She kicks him several times and renders him defenseless (but it turns out he wasn't following her).
  • Doob attacks another woman in her house after delivering groceries there. He grabs her by the throat and slams her around the room and then rapes her from behind. Later, she's seen lying wide-eyed, bloody, and very dead on a table.
  • Doob breaks a window and lets himself into Karen's house while she's upstairs in the shower. He makes his way up there and is confronted by Karen who's holding a gun. He rushes her, knocking the gun aside that fires into the ceiling. They struggle into the stairwell where her gun falls down the steps. She gives him a good punch to the nose and then tumbles down the stairs. He starts to come after her and she pumps him full of lead until he lands on top of her, quite bloody and dead.

  • Reviewed August 7, 1996

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