Teaching Mrs. Tingle Movie Review

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Once upon a time there was a writer named Kevin, who wanted to make a big splash in Hollywood. He wrote a movie called Killing Mrs. Tingle, which didn't sell, so he tried again. The next time he wrote a movie called Scream, which single-handedly revived the horror genre, paving the way for big horror flicks... and even small ones like The Blair Witch Project.

And then he made a TV show called Dawson's Creek, which was also a huge success. And another horror flick. And Scream 2. And then this writer was the hottest thing on Sunset Blvd., and even Killing Mrs. Tingle started to look good. Miramax bought it. They even let the guy direct.

Uh-oh. Mr. Williamson may have a great gift for writing, but it's not on display here. There was, it turns out, a good reason Mrs. Tingle didn't get sold: It's not that good of a story.

That story involves a wicked schoolteacher (Mirren), who tortures her pupils ruthlessly just for kicks. When valedictorian-wannabe Holmes is wrongly implicated for cheating, Tingle threatens expulsion. Naturally, Holmes and friends decide to make the woman a hostage in her own home and teach her a lesson.

So much fun could have been had with this movie, but so little is (see also: Suicide Kings). Though it's ostensibly a black comedy, the jokes are deathly flat. There's no "thrill" to speak of. No scares. Just some workmanlike acting that plods through about 90 minutes of obvious tedium before the also-obvious ending arrives. It's not a hideously bad picture, it's just so unmemorable that I can hardly bring myself to form an opinion about it.

Changing the title to Teaching Mrs. Tingle, big surprise, has not made one bit of difference in the quality of the picture, either.

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Teaching Mrs. Tingle Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG-13, 1999


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