Having survived her role as murder suspect (Silencing Sam, 2010, etc.), Minneapolis TV news reporter Riley Spartz auditions for the role of prospective victim.
The faceless killer prowling the Midwest had been concentrating on waitresses until he met Kate Warner, a girl next door with a secret life as a pseudonymous author of erotica. Bashing Kate to death with his favorite weapon, a broken baseball bat, would seem to guarantee wall-to-wall coverage, but not on Channel 3, where news director Noreen Banks is more interested in the heartrending tale of Buddy, a dog who died after being left in an overheated car by Keith Avise, his nasty owner. Or part-owner, since Keith’s ex Barbara soon turns up with the papers establishing her joint custody of Buddy, fanning the flames of yesterday’s news still further. Meanwhile, Kate’s killer, now identified as legal assistant Karl Dolezal, has communed with one of his many dead homicidal relatives (“his family tree became his destiny”) and received authorization to target Riley, who mistakes the stalker for her guardian angel when he rescues her from an egg-hurling Keith Avise. There’s no real hope that Dolezal’s crazy compulsion will doom Riley, but it’s nice to see a final scene in which several of her obnoxious colleagues at Channel 3 are mowed down, presumably to clear the way for more congenial replacements.
The mad killer is constantly, and realistically, upstaged by a graver threat from Noreen: “My job is on the line. Which means your job is on the line.”