Spiral Staircase

Network Premier: April 2, 2000


A beautiful, mute Helen Capel (Nicollette Sheridan) takes a job as nurse to the ailing, wealthy Emma Warren (Holland Taylor) in the Warrens’ secluded island estate. Helen quickly fits in with the clan, including Emma’s loyal, art historian son Phillip (Judd Nelson), and the attraction between the two intensifies. However, the manor’s relative calmness is shattered with the arrival of Phillip’s brother Steven (Alex McArthur), a devil-may-care womanizer who has his latest girlfriend Danielle (Debbe Dunning) in tow.

Steven’s arrival strangely coincides with a brutal strangling murder that’s occurred in the nearby, affluent Westport community. Having gathered some overwhelming evidence, the town’s Sheriff comes to the Warren estate to pinpoint Steven as the prime suspect. Along with this suspicion, a tumultuous storm descends on the manor, stranding all of the occupants – with no phone, electricity or way off the island. First airs on Fox Family Channel 4/2/00 at 8:00-10:00 PM (ET/PT).

Dove Review

This suspenseful thriller has all the elements that make this genre lots of fun – an isolated old house with hidden passageways; stranded people, one of whom is a murderer; duplicitous characters; a family secret; and a heroine unable to speak. Not exactly of the quality of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, but nonetheless, an exciting who’s-going-to-do-it, without graphic murders or profane language.

Content Description

Sex: Some kissing; one character is portrayed as a womanizer.
Language: 1 expletive
Violence: A woman is attacked, but she escapes; killings take place off screen.
Drugs: Drinking: wine with dinner, the one brother gets tipsy and makes a fool of himself, a few drink when frightened, but the film puts down abusive drinking.
Nudity: Woman in bikini
Other: None


Company: Fox Family Channel
Writer: Matt Dorff
Director: James Head
Genre: Suspense
Runtime: 120 min.
Industry Rating: TV-PG
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright