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Suicide Kings Reviews

More fun than a round of Clue. Thanks to its strong cast and tight screenplay, this snappy little thriller about five friends, an old dark house and a double-kidnapping gone bad marks an impressive debut for director Peter O'Fallon. Sandy Chasten, the daughter of a wealthy New York City businessman, has been kidnapped. Her brother (Henry Thomas), her boyfriend (Sean Patrick Flanery) and three friends (Jay Mohr, Jeremy Sisto and Johnny Galecki) concoct an incredible -- and incredibly stupid -- plan to rescue her: Kidnap retired crime boss Carlo Bartolucci (Christopher Walken) and force him to use his influence on Sandy's kidnappers. They drug Bartolucci, drive him out to a deserted Long Island mansion and tie him to a chair, chopping off his pinkie to prove they mean business. Big mistake: Mr. Bartolucci is an alcoholic, and his cirrhotic liver no longer produces enough vitamin K to clot the flowing blood. After a single phone call to his cronies, Bartolucci realizes that one of his six captors is most likely Sandy's kidnapper -- a trump he can play against them if he doesn't bleed to death first. It's the kind of twisty, keeps-you-guessing game that made THE USUAL SUSPECTS such a crowd-pleaser, and while it lacks that film's technical polish, O'Fallon has a way with suspense and knows just how to manipulate an audience without annoying them. Make no mistake, there's too much shtick -- Galecki ladles on the neurotic New Yorker stuff with an especially heavy hand -- and some of the camera flourishes are irritatingly clumsy. But character and plot are the main event, and the film's got both in spades.