It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
It's the voice that does it. The flat Michael Caine delivery that always seems to imply there are more angles than meet the eye. Caine plays the narrator and hero of "A Shock to the System," and as he dryly describes his progress up the corporate ladder and his steps toward a refurbished love life, we realize that this is the voice of a man who thinks he can get away with murder, and may be right.
In the movie, Caine is Graham Marshall, next in line to head the department in the big New York ad agency where he works. But then a smarmy pest of a younger man (Peter Riegert) gets the job. Meanwhile, Caine's life on the home front is an unendurable round of boredom and domestic psychological torture, engineered by his wife (Swoozie Kurtz).
One day while he is down in the basement replacing a fuse, Caine gets a nasty electrical shock, and it starts him to thinking.
"A Shock to the System" is the story of how Caine methodically eliminates the barriers to his professional success and personal pleasure. To say more would be to spoil some of the fun. The movie toys with us as it shows Caine almost getting caught, as it plants clues we're sure somebody will find and as it introduces the character of a genial Connecticut police detective (Will Patton) who persists in asking uncomfortable questions. Will the cop or anybody else figure out what Caine is doing? By cleverly manipulating the conventions of the crime movie, director Jan Egleson and writer Andrew Klavan lead us up one garden path and down another.