Without strangling the audience's interest, a clever thriller must twist and turn its plot with finesse. Instead of being caught off-guard, viewers of KILLER IMAGE are likely to choke on the plot reversals, red herrings, and unmotivated surprises.
When Max Oliver (John Pyper-Ferguson) investigates the untimely demise of his brother Ric (Paul Austin), his partner in a photographic business, his own safety becomes a tenuous matter. Discovered snapping pictures of Luther Kane (Michael Ironside) murdering Stacey (Barbara Gajewskia), the bimbo
girlfriend of Luther's brother Senator John Kane (M. Emmet Walsh), Ric was quickly dispatched by Luther. Looking for Ric's negatives, the unhinged Luther ransacks Max's apartment and begins harassing Max, who hasn't a clue about the incriminating photos.
Duping a prostitute named Lori (Chantelle Jenkins) into entertaining Max, Luther slays the trusting streetwalker, crazy-glues Max's hand to the murder weapon, and takes photos of guilty-looking Max in order to blackmail him into relinquishing Ric's negatives. After being forced to take a ride with
Lori's corpse in a roller coaster, Max temporarily escapes Luther's clutches, but Ric's girlfriend Carrie (Kristie Baker) isn't so lucky. The increasingly deranged Luther removes Stacey's corpse from a body bag long enough to photograph it, and then dumps the other dead women's bodies in Max's
apartment to brand him a serial killer.
Meanwhile fugitive Max finally unearths the Luther-photos from a motor bike and lays a trap, a plan complicated when Luther kidnaps Max's friend Shelley (Krista Errikson) and kills his own brother, who was not delighted to learn Luther executed his mistress. Concealing dozens of cameras in the
forest where he has agreed to rendezvous with Luther and Shelley, Max terrorizes camera-shy Luther. Before Luther can pick up all the incriminating photos or kill Max and Shelley, he does everyone a favor by falling off a cliff.
The above synopsis is a cursory detailing of all the ins and outs of a needlessly complicated mystery maze. This convoluted thriller grows nuttier and nuttier just like its psychotic villain. In a film not distinguished by a seductive visual style, it is hard to overlook the complete absence of
logic. Trying but failing to enrich itself with multi-leveled subtexts, KILLER IMAGE doesn't draw satisfying parallels between the two sets of brothers nor does it develop the political cover-up involving Senator John Kane's scandalous affair with Stacey. Instead of tightening the screws as Max
uses his talents to play Polaroid P.I., the movie veers off on too many tangents, and the body pile-up could be the envy of a teen slasher film.
Although Pyper-Ferguson draws the audience in with his animal magnetism, Ironside has become the Jack Palance of the 90s--one was enough. The thrills dissipate as the pacing slacks off every time Luther pulls a new dirty trick. Sneaky surprises enliven the film but don't build up the level of
suspense. Rather than frightening or intriguing viewers, KILLER IMAGE only succeeds in making them more and more incredulous. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Without strangling the audience's interest, a clever thriller must twist and turn its plot with finesse. Instead of being caught off-guard, viewers of KILLER IMAGE are likely to choke on the plot reversals, red herrings, and unmotivated surprises. When Ma… (more)