Spellbinder (1988): Not Original, But Not Bad
One of the pleasures of watching Spellbinder, the 1988 supernatural chiller now available on-line manufactured on demand, is formulating theories of where the plot is going. One of the surprises is guessing correctly, even though one’s guess is unlikely.
Spellbinder (see theatrical trailer here) is one of those films that is not so mesmerizing that the viewer’s mind doesn’t take side trips to see where it’s leading, but it’s entertaining enough that we want to see the whole thing and find out if our guesses are correct. Starring Timothy Daly, Kelly Preston, and Rick Rossovich, Spellbinder weaves a tale of magic, Satanism, and love (at first sight, no less).
Despite the fact that Kelly Preston portrays a woman (Miranda Reed) who may be a witch, it is Tim Daly’s role as a Los Angeles lawyer (Jeff Mills) who is friendly, kind, generous, honest, conscientious, trusting, courteous, heroic, and ethical that is the real fantasy character. One evening Jeff and some attorney pals are playing basketball in a gym, and as they leave, Jeff and Derek (Rick Rossovich) observe a man beating up a woman. They rush to her aid, and although the man threatens them with a knife, they rescue her.
Jeff offers Miranda a lift and in the course of the drive invites her to stay at his place for the night, no strings attached. She accepts and before you can say “Bob’s yer uncle,” she’s healed his aching back, told him things about himself she couldn’t possibly know, read his cat’s mind, and cleaned his house. He, of course, has fallen madly in love with her (after all, she cleans and cooks). She stays with him and one Saturday night he invites everyone he knows to a party to meet her. There Miranda charms everyone but Jeff’s secretary (Diana Bellamy), who sees her removing a cooked turkey (in a pan) from the oven with her bare hands. The secretary then quizzes Miranda about her past and is not satisfied with the answers she receives.Continued on the next page