This enervated puzzler dawdles over familiar psychological details, but does a fair job of keeping the guilty party's identity a secret. Troubled teen Seth Reed (Jonathan Jackson) suffers from a recurring childhood nightmare in which he sses his father, Will (Treat Williams), torching their house. Since the age of six, Seth has believed that his dad set fire to their house, killing his mother, and Will's ongoing patience does nothing to ease his son's simmering rage. Even after Will covers up a DUI incident for Seth, the teen continues to treat his father antagonistically. He also drinks too much, scares his prom date and behaves in generally antisocial ways, so when a classmate who hung out with Seth is bludgeoned to death, suspicions are aroused. After Seth joins the army, Will finds his son's collection of animals preserved in formaldehyde and, to his horror, learns that criminologists regard a childhood fascination with skeletal remains as a possible precursor to serial killing. Seth comes home for a Father's Day visit and a tourist disappears; the police try to link one of the victim's possessions to a gift Seth gave Will. After meeting Will's new girlfriend, Tina Conway (Linda Hamilton), Seth revealing his doubts about his father to her. For her part, Tina wonders whether Will's devotion to his son masks a deeper guilt regarding his wife and doesn't know who to trust. Then someone poisons Tina; unhinged by paranoia, Will proves no match for Seth's mind-games. Can a dark secret from Seth's past stop the Reed family's pattern of violence before the killer strikes again? The film's did-he-or-didn't-he premise remains viable throughout, but this slow-paced oedipal drama ultimately has nothing to offer beyond guessing games.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: This enervated puzzler dawdles over familiar psychological details, but does a fair job of keeping the guilty party's identity a secret. Troubled teen Seth Reed (Jonathan Jackson) suffers from a recurring childhood nightmare in which he sses his father, Wi… (more)