For most, the words, “A Jon Avnet Film,” ring in the ears much like “We’re going to need more tests,” or “Uh, sweetie, don’t freak, but I’m late.” Why the hell take the chance?

As much as the Avnet brand is as reliably awful as that of Pitof or Uwe Boll, I figured that the most reviled movie of 2008 had to at least be watchable. Perhaps even misunderstood. Thankfully, it sucked something awful. And yet, despite it all, I’m not ready to condemn it to any end of the year lists.

Excuse me? Doesn’t Al Pacino play a forensic psychiatrist? And isn’t he fucking a girl 45 years his junior when we first meet him?

True enough, but he also has the year’s worst hair, somehow a bad toupee slapped on top of a fright wig. And why, in at least half the shots, does Al look like a drunk Tom Savini? But yes, he is an honest-to-goodness doctor, and he lives in some Howard Hughes-style fortress because he’s a hated figure among serial killers, defense attorneys, and baby-faced girls who learned how to act watching old William Castle movies.

Goddamn it, are you spoiling a movie once again? So what, are you saying that Leelee Sobieski is the killer?

Of course, asshole. I knew it a half-hour in, though to crack the case in a movie of this caliber is sort of like coming home, finding the walls smeared with shit, and deducing that your retarded cousin has just been over for a visit. We’ll get to why she did it in a moment, but rest assured, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. But know this: the most eager and aggressive student in any movie classroom is usually responsible for murder and/or rape.

Who is Trilby Glover and why do you want her exposed, ridiculed, and barred from the screen evermore?

Playing defense attorney “Miss Bennett” (not even imdb grants her a first name), she has all of two minutes of screen time, and perhaps three full sentences of dialogue, but her impression is wide, deep, and unforgettable. In a nutshell, hers is the worst performance in the history of the movies. I dare anyone to prove otherwise. Good tits, though.

What’s this about Asian lesbians? Aren’t they making out right before being sliced to ribbons?

Unfounded, I’m afraid, and much exaggerated. Two Asian girls kiss, but they are twin sisters, and no more fuck than register as actresses. One dies horribly, while the other survives to finger Jon Forster, the serial killer known as the “Seattle Slayer.”

What about the sudden shift forward in time?

For some inconceivable reason, the story jumps ahead nine years, and women are once again dying exactly as they did before. Though the methods are the same, the killer cannot be, as he is tucked away in prison. A copycat madman? A distraction? A young medical student obsessed with serial killings to such a degree that she’ll throw away a promising career just to force a respected doctor into admitting he’d perjured himself to send people away, even if it means murdering a half dozen innocents in as gruesome a manner possible?


I’m guessing this good doctor has a secret in his past? And does the killer use it to mock the poor man?

When he was 28 and his sister 12, Dr. Gramm left her alone one day because he had an interview. Though he could not have known that a crazed killer bent on revenge would break in, torture the girl, and eventually cut her into bite-sized chunks, he blames himself. Which is why, all these years later, he lies on the stand to help convict innocent people. Or at least I think so.

Any reason why the killer sounds like that Jigsaw dude from the Saw movies?

A point of reference for a dim public, perhaps, but I’m guessing because the appalling screenplay wants you to believe a man is making these calls. Probably that guy in leather who, you know, looks guilty because he’s wearing stubble.

What the fuck was with that Photoshop? We can re-stage the fucking invasion of Normandy on film, but can’t edit a simple picture to look even remotely realistic?

It’s the most glaring problem in cinema today. Here, Pacino’s face (it looks like a shot from Cruising) is scotch-taped onto the body of a man at least a foot taller and likely a body builder. And I think the head was at least four sizes too big. Just like that, a film on the edge of greatness lost all credibility.

Before I forget, why “88” minutes?

You see, when Al’s sister was torn apart, the killer took exactly 88 minutes to do his work. He even said so in a taped confession. And now, Al’s hunter is giving him 88 minutes to live. Oh, that Leelee.

Surely there’s a line of dialogue that stands out? Light amidst the darkness?

Kim: “Do you think he’s dead?” – Dr. Gramm: “It doesn’t look good.”

Not bad in itself, but consider that the “he” in question had just been shot eight times and fallen down a flight of stairs. And his name was Guy LaForge. Like so many among us. I’m also partial to, “When I get out of here, I’m going to grab a hot meal, visit your grave, and piss all over it.”

Okay, so Leelee staged the whole thing. We know this. Why, for fuck’s sake? And before you answer, doesn’t the film say that she was an attorney on Forster’s case nine years prior, which would have made her, like, 14 fucking years old?

Leelee’s bright, but not above an adolescent crush on a vicious killer. We all know the type. Hell, even Richard Ramirez gets love letters. So she visits with Forster, becomes convinced that he’s been framed by Dr. Gramm, and helps kill a bunch of people to create doubt, frame the doctor, and help spring the guy from jail. Despite a talking killer scene of at least ten minutes, I still don’t understand what the hell transpired. That said, Leelee looks like a goddamn giant in her few scenes, and has all the acting ability of Paris Hilton. Fine, I insult Ms. Hilton. Let’s just say that Nicole Kidman’s got a wee one nipping at her overrated heels.

I take it she dies?

She falls six stories to a hard, marble floor, managing to sustain a mere bloody lip. But yes, she’s dead. Like Pacino’s career.

About Matt

Matt is the site’s Longest Serving Critic and chief misanthrope. He divides his time between classics of cinema and the most ridiculous movies he can find on Redbox.
Follow Matt: @mattcale52