When the Bough Breaks (1993 film)

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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[edit]

Following a gruesome discovery, State Profiler Audrey Macleah is called in to help investigate. She discovers a connection between the serial killings and young Jordan Thomas, who has been institutionalized since he was 4. As Audrey grows closer to the troubled youth, so to does the truth. Just what ties Jordan to the serial killer and can Audrey solve the mystery before another young girl meets the same fate as the previous victims?

The storyline itself is somewhat confused and illogical. The local police have been baffled by finding, year after year, severed hands, evidently very cleanly cut from the bodies of teenage girls - coupled with annual reports of missing teenage girls. FBI-trained profiler Audrey Macleah is presented with the case - and also with the troubling fact that a silent teenage boy who has long been kept in the county psychiatric hospital painted a hand on the wall of his cell every year at about the date that each girl had gone missing. It is speculated that this boy, who has no visitors, has some telepathic ability related to these crimes. Macleah makes an enormous effort to communicate with this boy (who, although institutionalized and mute since the age of four, somehow learned how to write) and learns that although his name is Jordan he has a secret alter-ego named Jenny. Further investigation reveals that the disappearances of the girls, and Jordan's painting of a hand, occur each year on Jordan's birthday. The effort to look up the hospital records of Jordan's birth reveals even more. The denoument owes something to Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960) and even more to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991). Despite the identification of the villain, enormous chunks of the mystery remain unexplained.



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[edit]