Are you ready for another installment of made for television mayhem? Changed things up and instead of a straight up horror movie this time I’ve covering Death Cruise, a murder mystery. It has a solid cast featuring some actors who were just about to hit it big! There isn’t much love on this boat, but there are bodies so that should be fun. This is also the first ABC movie of the week that I'm covering!
The plot gives us three couples that have won an all-expenses paid cruise on a luxury liner. There are the empty nesters, David and Elizabeth, who are trying to figure out what they are now that the kids have moved out. We also get the estranged husband and wife, Sylvia and Jerry. She is just about finished with him cheating on her and lets him and everyone know about it! Finally, there is a young couple James and Mary. They initially seem happy, but they have their own issues regarding starting a family. Toss in the ship’s doctor who is an amateur sleuth and you have the components for a decent murder mystery.
So, what happens? Well someone starts to kill off the vacationers one at a time. When the doctor tries to figure out their connection to one another all he knows is that they won the trip from a nonexistent company. Someone wanted them all to be on the ship to be knocked off, but who and why? The only other thing that they all share is that they were in Atlanta in 1970. What the heck is going on?
|Nice shirt Mr. Bosley|
Some of the television movies that I’ve reviewed I enjoy because they are cheesy and dumb. Thinking of you Killdozer! But Death Cruise is something completely different. I’m a sucker for a good murder mystery and this is one. They spend twenty minutes establishing the couples and their relationship issues before the first murder occurs. That means we get to know a bit about them resulting in a lot of suspects and motivations. But the writers have fun with that because as they set up likely suspects they then knock them off. So, you really don’t know who the killer is until the very end, which makes sense and is satisfying.
I was also impressed with the cast. You get a pre-Happy Days Tom Bosley playing David. He is very good and shows real emotion after his wife is killed. This includes some introspective moments that I was surprised that they took the time to show. This is excellent writing and shows that the networks were very serious about the quality of these movies of the week. We also get a pre-Charlie’s Angels Kate Jackson as the young wife Mary. I don’t feel like they give her much to do, but she is very pretty. That was probably sexist… But this is a movie from the ‘70s so that makes it okay. Right?
My only complaint is the terrible fake “old guy” makeup that they do. The killer is clearly moving around the ship in a disguise that would never fool anyone in real life. That was a bit of a bummer, but it is bad enough that you can’t tell who is under it. Now being able to figure out who it was under all that latex would have certainly spoiled Death Cruise. The final twist and reveal is satisfying and a decent payoff.
This movie is fairly short at less than eighty minutes and worth every second of your time. I recommend checking out Death Cruise. As with the other made for T.V. movies I've linked to the full movie instead of the trailer.
© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer