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while she was out
Click for full sized poster

While She Was Out

Starring Kim Basinger; Lucas  Haas, Craig Sheffer, Jamie Starr. Leonard Wu and Luis Chavez
Based on the short story by Edward Bryant
Written and Directed by Susan Montford
no website

IN SHORT: Ah, the return of suspense-filled movie!.
[Rated R for strong violence and language. 108 minutes]

With just a little gore for a younger generation. Della Myers (Kim Basinger) has the American Dream. Nice house in the suburbs. Pair of adorable twins. Two cars and a hard working, loving husband . . .

Well, two cars at least. Della's husband Kenneth (Craig Sheffer) is a loud mouthed, verbally (at least) abusive man. If he hasn't hit her yet, he's just another messy house and a couple of shots of Scotch away from it. One Christmas-time evening in suburbia, Della leaves said kids and hubbie at home and heads to the mall to pick up Christmas-time wrapping paper for presents and such. The mall is jammed, as she had been warned on her cell by a friend already there, and parking spots are nonexistent.

Except for the pair of spots being hogged by on old beater. Della leaves a nasty note on the windshield of said car and thus sets in motion the events of While She Was Out, a kill or be killed bit of suspense heavy movie making that works fine for old geezers like Cranky. For Della has been seen by the owners of the car, four "tough" punks led by not-his-real-name (he picked it himself, y'see) Chuckie (Lucas Haas) who talks big and gets most of his courage from the gun in his pocket.

The kind that shoots bullets. All that mind in the gutter stuff is certainly on said punks' minds but you'll get nothing sexually explicit here. Those expecting wall to wall slice 'n' dice gore will be disappointed as it isn't that kind of movie. It's a genuine bit of old school suspense-filled drama, as Della is assaulted in the mall parking lot by four toughs who, unfortunately for the mall's security guard, are packin' heat. Leaving bodies behind wasn't the plan for at least three of the kidlets and, while they argue about what to do, Della gets in her car and drives off as fast as she can.

Kidlets get it together, of  course, and a chase ensues that ends with a crash or two in a suburban housing site under construction, surrounded by a nice dark wood. From here on out it's Della on the run -- thoughtfully keeping her tan Burberry raincoat on so she can be easily spotted in the dark by the leader of the pack, who, also thoughtfully, has stolen a flashlight from Della's car. Della, armed only with the car's toolbox -- don't ask about motivation here. The woman was scared and it works for the ensuing story -- it's into the dark wood for an hour of, as we've already written, old fashioned kill or be killed.

There is a point early on where some of the dialog goes off track, at least as far as we're concerned. Then again, geezers are sensitive to certain four letter words not usually heard even in R rated films. There isn't more to say about the film since it's all a directorial exercise executed beautifully by Ms. Montford. We repeat the bit about not leaving our seat. It works that well.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to While She Was Out, he would have paid . . .


The $6 rating means While She Was Out is a real good sit if you want to wait and rent. Indeed, we didn't hit pause or get up from our seat (the film was seen on DVD because of the Christmas-time glut of releases). If you can get to it in a good sized theater, with a good sized audience, so much the better.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Susan Montford
Click to buy films starring Kim Basinger
Click to buy films starring Lucas Haas

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.