A B-movie 90’s style serial killer flick which sees a decent cast try their own Silence of the Lambs story- the results are questionable!
Not long after Se7en came out to a resounding success, the thriller genre was awash of copycats -not just the Sigourney Weaver decent offering – with many all jumping on the bandwagon, trying to grab the critical acclaim and match the impossible of their own “what’s in the box?” moment. Some were great, others not so, but like many trends, it soon filtered out and fans were just content with a re-watch of that Fincher classic.
Mindcage offers a memory of that period, what with flashlights in the dark, a beating musical score and in some scenes, relentless rain as the cops watch on. For a while, I was on-board, I can’t remember the last time I saw a serial killing film like this, in what could be now classified as an “old school” thriller, all the clichés in full force as we try to work out who the killer is as the clues are hinted through out.
Mauro Borrelli’s throwback mixes most of that era’s serial killer flicks as we have John Malkovich doing his best Hannibal Lector impression as Arnaud “The Artist” Lefeure, a murderer who killed six women and left them in this artistic pose, only to be caught and then left to face the death penalty. Of course a few years later, a copycat turns up and the police send in Clarice – sorry Mary Kelly (Melissa Roxburgh)to visit the imprisoned Lefeure and to use his expertise in catching the new killer in town.
In a rather strange bit of casting, Martin Lawrence plays Detective Jake Doyle, the cop who caught the original “Artist” and who now aids Mary, while suffering from PTSD and we’ll be honest and say its odd to see this Bad Boy in what is probably his first serious role and in truth he doesn’t quite grasp the opportunity as it feels that he is only one line away from making a wisecrack, as he struggles to give the depth his character so desperately needs.
The only person who leaves any impression is Malkovich who once again just lightens the room with every scene he appears in, which is much needed as the dodgy dialogue engulfs each passing moment and while its all passable stuff, a very neat twist towards the end, threatens to make Mindcage interesting, which will leave you frustrated and wishing that the reveal happened a little bit sooner as we may have then had a film that could have been stepped away from its familiar path and into something worth talking about.
2 HATCHETS OUT OF 5