Young Christian Slater was acting on the ABC daytime drama Ryan's Hope at the time he won the lead in this fairly tense psycho-thriller based on Jack Horrigan's play Children! Children! It actually resembles The Bad Seed (also based on a stage play) in its tale of Mark Collins (Slater), a purely evil teenager who burns a cat, murders a school bully, and kills kittens and other animals. He's also rather clever, wiring his entire home for sound to eavesdrop on conversations or broadcast Hitler speeches and blare Nazi music throughout the house. When his bickering parents (Tandy Cronyn, Dan Ziskie) attend a party at a local country club, Mark and his sister (Brooke Tracy) are left in the care of a local socialite (Lois Smith) with a history of mental disturbances. That's when Mark decides to unleash his nasty bag of psychological tricks, attempting to frighten the poor woman into a mental collapse. The sadistic game quickly turns violent, and although the film's conclusion is rather unsatisfying, getting there is good, sick fun. Slater and Smith are both very convincing, and there are appearances from Dina Merrill, J.C. Quinn, and a young Mercedes Ruehl, as well, making it even more difficult to explain why the film sat around for so many years before being released to cash in on the press surrounding The Good Son.