"They didn't kill me; I was dead already," is the statement uttered by Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid), an English professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has been poisoned by a slow-acting toxin and who has twenty-four hours to track down his killers before he ceases to exist. Remade from the 1949 Rudolph Mate thriller by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, the co-directors jazz up the old luridness with slap-up doggishness that boosts the intensity-level higher than it deserves to go. Cornell is a burned-out novelist trying to hold on to tenure at the university while seeing his marriage collapse around him. As if that weren't enough, he is receiving amorous come-ons from smart, young student Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan) and being badgered by another student, Nick Lang (Robert Knepper), to read his brilliant first novel. Not long after Dex demurs to Nick to read his novel, Nick is killed in a fall. Only then does Dex find out that Nick has been having an affair with his wife.