Whispers in the Dark

New York shrink Ann Hecker (Annabella Sciorra) gets turned on by her dreams of sexual bondage, which are intensified by one patient (Deborah Unger) who acts out S&M fantasies and another (John Leguizamo) who paints them. Men are scant help to Dr. Hecker: Her father committed suicide; her leering mentor (Alan Alda) has an interfering wife (Jill Clayburgh); her lover (Anthony Heald) won't sleep with her; and her new suitor (Jamey Sheridan) won't share his dark secrets.

Writer-director Christopher Crowe (Off Limits) stifles a good cast in a hothouse of kinky fantasy. Reality intrudes when one of Dr. Hecker's patients is murdered. Sciorra has a few wittily argumentative scenes with Anthony LaPaglia, in a solid turn as a cop who once studied psychology and now shudders at hearing the word. You'll shudder, too, after enduring Sciorra's psych-speak sessions with Alda. The only way to enjoy this claptrap is to laugh at it, which is unavoidable during the absurd climax. Without telling who plays the killer, we'll just note that the actor in question delivers the most embarrassingly over-the-top portrayal this side of Friday the 13th.