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When the Bough Breaks (1993 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When the Bough Breaks
When the Bough Breaks 94.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byMichael Cohn
Produced byDenise Ballew
Barry L. Collier
Barbara Javitz
Written byMichael Cohn
StarringAlly Walker
Martin Sheen
Ron Perlman
Tara Subkoff
Music byEd Tomney
CinematographyMichael Bonvillain
Edited byStephen Butler
Distributed byPrism Entertainment
Release date
Jun 1, 1994
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States

When the Bough Breaks is a 1994 American thriller film directed by Michael Cohn and starring Ally Walker, Martin Sheen, Ron Perlman and Tara Subkoff. The screenplay concerns a serial killer.[1]

Plot summary

Following a gruesome discovery of a bag of severed hands in the sewer system, State Profiler Audrey Macleah (Ally Walker) is called in to help the Houston police department investigate. Macleah immediately ruffles some feathers with her methodology and frankness but is determined to catch the murderer. After examination the hands appear to be the hands of young girls from various ages, each with a number tattooed on their palms. Captain Swaggert (Martin Sheen) sends Macleah to a nearby psychiatric hospital to talk to a doctor who called in a tip about one of his patients after hearing about the discovery.

His patient is Jordan Thomas, who has been shuttered through foster homes and institutionalized since he was four years old. Every year on his birthday he has seizures, his wrists start to bleed, and he carves hands into the walls - each with numbers stenciled on the palms. Despite Jordan's initial reluctance to communicate with her, Macleah earns his trust and discovers there is a psychic connection between Jordan and the killer.

After combing through Jordan's medical files and the databases, Macleah learns that the hands belong to young girls who have all gone missing over the years on Jordan's birthday, July 16 from nearby parks around the Houston area. After watching a video from a missing girl's file, Macleah hears the song of the ice cream truck and figures out it's the song Jordan hums each time she goes to visit him. The Houston police department track down a lead with a pedophilic ice cream man but he turns out to be a dead end.

On Jordan's birthday, during a hypnosis game, Macleah gleans information from Jordan's alter-ego named Jennifer Lynn. Jennifer tells Macleah that the hands are given from Daddy so she can play. At the same time, a young girl is seen running through the woods with her dog. She stumbles upon an unaccompanied ice cream truck and goes inside for a snack. She is assaulted from behind and the truck drives away with her inside.

With help from a colleague, Macleah finds the identity of a Jennifer Lynn Eben, who has been deceased for some time. She visits the old shuttered hospital and finds birth records for Jordan Brian Eben, given up for adoption at birth after the hemorrhaging death of his mother Jennifer Lynn. After flipping a page, Macleah sees the birth record for a female twin, Jennifer Lynn Eben, born with extremely malformed hands. The attending physician during their birth was their own father, Douglas Eben (Ron Perlman).

Macleah visits the Eben estate and meets a housekeeper who tells her Eben is on vacation but invites her in. Inside, Macleah sees photos of Jennifer, the mother, but none of the daughter Jenny. She learns that the mother, was a piano prodigy and the daughter is away at private school in Europe. One photo in particular is striking, depicting a dark-haired young woman standing in front of a house by a water tower. As she is driving back to the precinct, Macleah sees the water tower and crosses traffic to find the house from the picture. After knocking to no answer, Macleah goes around back through the open gate and peers into the garage to see an old ice cream truck. She breaks a window to enter the home and after patrolling the house, locates the basement door. Once downstairs she breaks into a padlocked room and finds a homemade medical operating room with a furnace. She spots a shower in the corner and reveals the missing girl from the ice cream truck, terrified and alive.

After freeing her, they hear a noise from the other room and Macleah discovers Jenny hiding behind a wardrobe. Macleah pries open a basement window for their escape but is thwarted by the arrival of Doug Eben who has come to deliver Jenny her birthday present. Macleah hides in the medical room watching their interaction. Doug lights candles for Jenny and asks her to play for him. She goes to the piano and Eben stands behind her as she awkwardly plunks out keys. He picks her up and tucks her in and gives her a long kiss but before he makes it upstairs he hears a whimper from the medical room. After barging in he has a confrontation with Macleah who lights him on fire as the two young girls escape. Macleah grabs her gun and shoots Eben until he slumps over.

At the end, Captain Swaggert is seen driving Jenny with pinned hands to meet Jordan, who Macleah has discharged from the psychiatric hospital. The twins embrace with tears in their eyes.



Grand Prix Vidéo from the Cognac Festival du Film Policier 1995 for Michael Cohn.


  1. ^ Sandra Brennan. "When the Bough Breaks (1993) - Michael Cohn - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 22:22
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