Watch Now: BAD INFLUENCE
Before he’d go on to write Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible and Panic Room, screenwriter David Koepp wrote a script for a dark psychological thriller about a shy push-over whose life is turned upside-down when he meets a dangerous, free-spirited and morally unhinged mystery man. Directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, 8 Mile), Bad Influence is a hidden gem from 1990 which unfairly sits on the dusty shelves of 1990s cinema even though there are plenty of reasons it deserves the spotlight. With great roles by James Spader and Rob Lowe, Bad Influence initially got decent reviews, but its success was hindered by factors having nothing to do with its quality (hint: Lowe’s 1988 tapes scandal).
Director Hanson remained very fond of the picture, regretting only the fact it got overshadowed by Lowe’s personal affairs at the time. James Spader labeled it “an extremely strange, peculiar thriller” whose main strength was the fact that “where you end up is extremely surprising”. Excellent acting and tight script made sure Bad Influence was much more than some sort of a Strangers on a Train riff, and more than thirty years from its premiere, it still holds up well.