A modest chiller that uses built-in fascination with serial killers to complicate audience response to a protagonist who may be getting away with murder, this film delivers its conventional shocks with more sophistication than the average direct-to-video picture. Is evil genetic or is it environmentally determined? That's the topic that drives the best-selling crime fiction of controversial novelist Luke Sinclair (Chris Sarandon), who insists that human nature is fundamentally primitive. Hoping to shake the case of writer's block that has him professionally becalmed, Luke holes up in a remote New England motel. Local sheriff Dayton Norris (Vlasta Vrana) soon finds himself wondering why Luke's arrival coincides with a killing spree, and resents the interference of FBI profiler Sonya Lerman (Catharine Mary Stewart), who doesn't think the fact that Luke boozes his way to creativity makes him a killer. Crime-scene evidence leads cops to a cable repairman, and Luke appears to be in the clear. Then Norris reveals intimate knowledge of one of the corpses things only the killer should know and Sonya finds herself torn between two suspects. Figuring out the killer's identity tormented Luke or control-freak Norris? could cost Sonya her life. The expert acting of Vlana and Sarandon gives this whodunit a welcome boost; if it were a non-genre drama, Sarandon's portrayal of the effects of alcoholism on a tortured soul would have earned him substantial critical kudos. The mystery is fairly straightforward, but Matt Dorff and Vincent Monton's screenplay has a little more flair than most.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: A modest chiller that uses built-in fascination with serial killers to complicate audience response to a protagonist who may be getting away with murder, this film delivers its conventional shocks with more sophistication than the average direct-to-video p… (more)