“A psychological thriller based on the concept of anamorphosis, a painting technique that manipulates the laws of perspective to create two competing images on a single canvas.” — IMDb
A reviewer at the New York Post described this movie as “a serial-killer flick told like an art lecture” and wow, nothing has ever been more accurate.
Stan Aubray (Willem Dafoe) is an increasingly alcoholic NYPD detective who is haunted by the serial killer case of “Uncle Eddie” from five years prior, one that involved some very intricately artistic crime scenes, and one that was closed after the death of the prime suspect during an attempted arrest. Now he’s on the trail of an apparent copycat, unearthing not only clues but memories he’d rather forget.
This movie disappointed me ultimately because the general idea is pretty fantastic and interesting — a killer staging his crime scenes so that they must be viewed from one specific angle to see his hidden message — but the rest of it was done in such a clichéd, boring way that it was tough to even sit through. Dafoe’s character is a fairly typical, weathered detective… he has slight OCD tendencies and he’s withdrawn and intentionally isolated from the world. There’s friction between him and Detective Carl Uffner (Scott Speedman) that often centers around Uffner trying to get him to open up and talk to him about the previous case. But neither character is particularly interesting in their own right.
The murder scenes were probably the coolest part of the movie. Each one was more intricate than the last — I mean, they must have taken the killers hours and hours to construct — and quite gory, honestly. But when the highlight of a movie is a bloody crime scene over the acting, the storyline, the music… well, that’s not awesome. I just didn’t FEEL much while watching it. It never gripped me, never pulled me in. It just skims the edges of being this fascinating murder-mystery but it never quite gets there, either story-wise or aesthetically (the super hard lighting did nothing for me). And then there’s the super cheesy ending with his various faces… ooof. Nope.
Rating: 3/10 | Director: Henry Miller | Writer: Henry Miller | Music: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek | Starring: Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Don Harvey, James Rebhorn, Peter Stormare, Amy Carlson, Samantha MacIvor