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Film / Deadly Advice

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Deadly Advice is a 1994 British Black Comedy drama film directed by Mandie Fletcher and starring Jane Horrocks, Brenda Fricker, Imelda Staunton, and Jonathan Pryce.

Advised by the ghosts of five notable British killers, small town librarian Jodie (Horrocks) sets out to murder her domineering mother, Iris (Fricker), and anyone else who stands in her way to happiness.

Deadly Advice contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: The ghosts of the murderers are all extremely polite and helpful, offering Jodie all sorts of well-meaning advice. Which usually amounts to Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • An Axe to Grind: On Mrs. Webster's urging, Jodie buries a hatchet in her mother's skull.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The reason Jack the Ripper gives as to why he was never caught. An unassuming hairdresser, he once even cut Inspector Aberline's hair; showing how close to investigation he could come without being suspected.
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  • Black Comedy: Murder Is the Best Solution Played for Laughs.
  • Dead Man's Chest: After killing her mother, Jodie stuffs her body inside a chest and waits for her sister to get home.
  • Deadly Bath: G.J. Smith explains to Jodie how he drowned his wives in the bath by yanking on their ankles and pulling them under the water: which is illustrated with a flashback.
  • Death by Falling Over: As a young girl, Jodie discovered her father in bed with his lover. In the subsequent argument, she shoved him and he toppled backwards over the edge of the balcony to his death.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ted, the village doctor, continues his pursuit of Jodie despite all of the obstacles that her mother Iris throws in his path. The final scene indicates that perhaps he is not quite such a nice guy after all.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: All of the hen's night are very appreciative of Bunny's strip act in Bristol. A similar thing happens later when he is dancing at the village dance.
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  • History's Crime Wave: Jodie is advised by a collection of Britain's most notorious murderers: Major Herbert Armstrong, Kate Webster, Dr. Crippen, G.J. Smith, and Jack the Ripper.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Major Armstrong, Mrs. Webster and Dr. Crippen sit in the front row of the church singing along with the hymns after having pushed Jodie to murder her mother.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When her car crashes, Beth is thrown through the windscreen and ends up impaled on the bale spike on the back of a tractor.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: This is G.J. Smith's primary advice to Jodie; explaining how he drowned his wives in the bath in such a way to avoid suspicion. It is on his suggestion that she tampers with her sister's heart meds to weaken her heart further.
  • Medication Tampering: Jodie empties out her sister's heart medication capsules and refills them with flour.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: This is generally the advice the ghosts offer Jodie for any problem she faces. Only Major Armstrong suggests that she stop at one murder, as attempting a second was his undoing.
  • My Beloved Smother: Iris Greenwood rules the house with an iron hand and has such power over her daughters that they see themselves as becoming bitter old spinsters.
  • Mythology Gag: Jack the Ripper mentions that his occupation was hairdresser. Aaron Kosminski, one of the principal suspects in the original Ripper investigations, was a hairdresser.
  • Nerdy Inhaler: Beth has asthma and uses an inhaler. It gets quite a work out when she visits the strip club.
  • Primal Scene: At the end of the movie, it is revealed that Jodie had walked in on her father having sex with his lover on a trip to London. This is implied to have contributed to her delicate mental balance. Although probably not as much as accidentally causing his death immediately afterward.
  • Shear Menace: Jodie stabs Bunny with a pair of scissors.
  • Stag Party: Beth goes out on a hen night for one of the girls at the bank where she works. They go to a strip club in Bristol. By the end of the night, everyone is drunk, one girl is throwing up in her handbag, and the bride-to-be is in tears and wondering why she is getting married. Meanwhile, Beth has met Bunny, the stripper who will later move in with her.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Jack the Ripper confides to Jodie that the secret for getting away with murder is to look like someone no one would ever suspect: pointing out that he looks like a harmless old man, and not the monster everyone was searching for.
  • The Vicar: The vicar has a habit of preaching sermons especially apposite of Jodie and Beth's situation without realizing it.

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