I think the most entertaining way to describe Malicious is to do so in
the form of a guessing game. I'm going to write out the entire storyline,
and you see if you can name another film (an earlier, more famous one) with
the exact same plot.
A laid-back, small-town hero up in the Pacific Northwest hopes to make it
in the big time in San Francisco. He's lonely one night and ends up being
cornered into a one-night stand with a local woman who is a fan of his. She
turns out to be more than a fan. She is obsessed with him, and we come to
realize that she is also stark raving mad. After their time together, she
constructs an imaginary relationship with him and carries on as if the
relationship were real. She often drops in unexpectedly, acting as if she
The situation worsens when the man's regular girlfriend returns to the
area, and the stalker becomes livid with jealousy. The madwoman does
everything she can to poison the couple's relationship, and even tries to
kill him, but he narrowly escapes. The man then comes to realize that the
stalker may try to kill his girlfriend. The situation comes to a head when
the man realizes that his girlfriend's new roommate is ... the stalker,
using a different name!
He rushes through San Francisco to his girlfriend's apartment, and finds
that an investigating policeman has been already been murdered there. The
stalker then attacks our hero with a knife. The climax of the film occurs
when our hero is lucky enough to land a hard blow to the knife-wielding
psychopath, causing her to fall from an upper story to her death below.
Have you locked in your guess?
The answer is that Malicious is the grade-B rip-off of ... (suspenseful
music) ... Play Misty For Me.
There are some differences, of course. Just enough to avoid any lawsuits.
For example, the hero in Play Misty for Me is a small-time Carmel DJ hoping
to break through to a major station in the San Francisco area, while the hero
in Malicious is a small-college baseball player in Vancouver trying to land
a spot with the San Francisco Giants. Apart from that, the most significant
variations revolve around some flashbacks and background material which
explain why the stalker is so crazy.
Malicious has some other problems besides being derivative. One important
scene transition seems to need a connecting scene, and the
characterizations offer little more than the genre's usual by-the-numbers
cardboard cut-outs to drive the plot along. Patrick McGaw lacks any spark,
brings nothing memorable to the lead role, and takes the concept of
laid-back to the extreme in a low-octane performance. His performances in
the batters' box also ring false. McGaw is small, doesn't take a very
powerful cut, and is completely unconvincing as a power hitter with major
league potential. The only major leaguer he could play convincingly would be
Eddie Gaedel. McGaw isn't the only problem with the baseball scenes, which
are totally boring in general, and mostly just show the batter, catcher, and
umpire from a pitcher-cam.
flaws Malicious is not a totally awful movie. It has some moments of
suspense, and Molly Ringwald does a pretty good job in the Jessica Walter
role as the stalker, although the film was not exactly the springboard to
adult success that she might have hoped for. She still works regularly, but
never could achieve a level of adult stardom to match her popularity as a
teen icon in the mid eighties. On the other hand, she has had a better
post-Malicious career than the film's other principals. The film's director,
Ian Courson, never directed again; the film's writer had no further credits
of any kind at IMDb; and actor Patrick McGaw disappeared from the TV/film world about
six years ago.