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dir Dean Devlin
scr Brandon Boyce
prd Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson
with David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Kerry Condon, Carlito Olivero, Jacqueline Byers, Tracey Heggins, Robert P Nagle, Lorraine Bahr, Jacob Resnikoff, David Meyers, Tony Doupe, Lisa Brenner
release US 4.May.18, UK 24.Aug.18
Contemplating his next nasty move: Tennant
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A strong sense of morality gives this thriller an engaging kick, as a hapless young guy gets caught in a spiral of criminality he knows is wrong, then stumbles into something truly horrific. Filmmaker Dean Devlin assembles the movie with gritty, sleek style, offering just enough character development to hook the audience before things turn viciously over the top. And also rather silly.
In Portland, Oregon, Irish aspiring photographer Sean (Sheehan) lives above a garage and drives a vintage orange Volkswagen. He also has a hot business-student girlfriend, Riley (Byers) and works as a valet with his pal Derek (Olivero), robbing homes while customers eat in a restaurant. But one night Sean breaks into the wrong home, where the psychotic Cale (Tennant) is holding his latest victim (Condon). Feeling guilty for leaving her there, Sean alerts the cops. But they aren't helpful, and as Sean tries to help, Cale takes out his rage on Sean's family and friends.
The set-up is involving, building some strong suspense as these likeable young guys do one dangerously idiotic thing after another. Cracks in the plot begin to show as the supernaturally perfectionist Cale reveals preposterous abilities to elude capture and manipulate his prey as he sets out to exact his brutal revenge. It's not just unlimited resources and more gadgetry than Batman; he can also completely renovate rooms in his home and produce a random girlfriend in a matter of minutes.
Sheehan is superb as a young guy who plays loose with the rules until his conscience gets the best of him. He certainly offers a sympathetic contrast to Tennant, who is basically playing evil personified, as Cale stalks Sean in increasingly horrific ways while barely breaking a sweat. Until he tips over into vein-popping mania of course. The other characters swirl around the edges, registering nicely as they add to Sean's stress because they're targets for Cale's violent outbursts.
"This time I have to do the right thing," Sean says, making it crystal clear that his irresponsible days are behind him. At this point the film tips over into farce, with flashbacks to Cale's horse-freakout childhood plus an FBI agent (Heggins) who finally puts Sean's clues together. But of course it's Sean himself who has to track down Cale in his snowy woodland lair for the requisite crazed finale. The film may have all the trappings of a slick and nasty hit, but it's basically high-quality serial killer porn.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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