A female radio psychologist taunted by a killer is familiar damsel-in-distress fodder for the Lifetime cable network, which also aired the similarly-plotted The Night Caller (1998), Requiem for Murder (1999), and A Lover’s Revenge (2005).
Dr. Jill Peterman (Canadian actress Georgina Haig, who’s very good), a Minneapolis, Minnesota (aka Toronto), “relationship therapist” who advocates a tough-love approach when counseling her listeners, walks away from the business when a listener, “Alexis,” takes her advice of “end this pathetic life” of allowing a man to cheat on her, literally—and she commits suicide on the air.
A year later, with WRMD 96.5 FM at the bottom of the ratings and ready to change to an automated dance format, her old General Manager persuades her to return to the air—with the guilt trip that she’ll be “saving everyone’s jobs.” As she settles back into her show, the mysterious calls from “Alexis” begin. Then her billboards around the city are vandalized with the words “How Do You Sleep?”—a message that’s repeated on the greeting cards enclosed with the deliveries of black roses.
Let slip the red herrings of noir.
Did Alexis actually kill herself? Is she the one leaving threats? Or is someone else behind them? The police never found a woman who committed suicide matching that name and they believe it was a prank—even a rating-grabbing station stunt that backfired. Could it be the win-at-all-costs station owner, her producer, or her promotion-driven production assistant? Is it the barista at the local coffee house who is Dr. Jill’s #1 fan? Is any of this real and is it all in Jill’s head?
The radio studio is a poorly done build that’s darkly lit to hide the “studios” shortcomings of its ubiquitous equipment-strewn business desks and—not another recording studio mixer being used as an audio board. Ugh. But at least there’s some digital touch screen audio equipment used. And the expositional industry jargon between the station owner and general manager about terrestrial radio competing with podcasting, ratings and format changes give the proceedings a sense of reality.
You can watch this Canadian TV movie—reimaged with the sensationalistic When Murder Calls for its U.S debut—for free on You Tube and You Tube.
About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.