The Stalker's Apprentice (1998) Peter Davison, James Bolam, Paula Wilcox, Gideon Turner, Natalie Walter - movie review on The Movie Scene

The Stalker's Apprentice (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Gideon Turner in The Stalker's Apprentice (1998)

Stalker on a Train

Marcus Walwyn (Gideon Turner) seems just like an ordinary guy; he works as a book editor, lives with his single mum (Paula Wilcox) and his flaw seems to be he is a bit obsessive about cleanliness. But Marcus' obsessive nature leads him to start following around Karen (Natalie Walter), an attractive young woman he saw on the train one day. Already having fantasy thoughts about Karen he finds himself starting to follow the advice of Helmut Kranze (James Bolam), a serial killer whose book he has read, leading him on a killing spree.

I am kind of at a loss for words when it comes to "The Stalker's Apprentice" and it is not because it is a bad movie, it's just that it ends up a bit unremarkable which is a shame. I say that because I have watched a few British movies all about the acts of an obsessed individual who turns killer and they have done a good job of playing on the black comedy of an obsessed character. They don't go the black comedy route with "The Stalker's Apprentice" but don't really go any route with this being a straight drama with just the dark acts of Marcus breaking things up. It lets the movie down because it sadly makes it feel far too nondescript.

Peter Davison in The Stalker's Apprentice (1998)

And it is a shame because when you look beyond this nondescript styling the storyline t o "The Stalker's Apprentice" is good and full of potential. The whole set up of Marcus becoming infatuated with Karen and then murdering those close to her who would provide an obstacle to him being with her is surprisingly interesting. And that is boosted by the extra side as Marcus starts to follow the words of serial killer turned writer Helmut Kranze with Marcus ending up being manipulated by the killer. On top of that we also have Marcus almost taunting the detective who has been assigned to the case.

That sense of them missing a trick when it comes to style also comes from the casting as we have Peter Davison, James Bolam and Paula Wilcox all in the cast and all perfect when it comes to delivering humour. But the humour is never there for them to do what they do best and so they end up delivering nondescript performances of nondescript characters with maybe the exception being James Bolam doing a bit of an Anthony Hopkins. And then there is Gideon Turner who certainly delivers that sense of being obsessed and a bit of a fantasist but never truly makes the character of Marcus as unsettling which is what this movie needed.

What this all boils down to is that "The Stalker's Apprentice" ends up a frustrating British TV movie as the storyline has so much potential but the end result ends up surprisingly non descript and frankly forgettable.


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