The Watcher

Have you heard the one about the diabolically clever serial killer and the troubled cop he draws into his perverted world of death and psychological torture? Sure you have — in fact, if you like serial killer stories, you've heard it lots of times. And that's the biggest thing wrong with this routine psychological thriller; that and the fact that Keanu...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Have you heard the one about the diabolically clever serial killer and the troubled cop he draws into his perverted world of death and psychological torture? Sure you have — in fact, if you like serial killer stories, you've heard it lots of times. And

that's the biggest thing wrong with this routine psychological thriller; that and the fact that Keanu Reeves plays the diabolically clever serial killer. Former Los Angeles-based detective Jack Campbell (James Spader) is a mess, driven to a total nervous breakdown by his pursuit of strangler David Griffin (Reeves), a murderer so ingenious that the police could do nothing to stop him. Three years later, Campbell is moping around Chicago, a sleepless prescription pill junkie who's tormented by migraines and seeing a sympathetic therapist (Marisa Tomei, whose lackluster performance suggests once again that her Oscar for MY COUSIN VINNY was the luckiest fluke in the world). And then the taunting phone calls start; Griffin has pulled up stakes and moved to the Windy City, eager to resume his sadistic cat-and-mouse game with Campbell, with a new twist. Griffin sends Campbell photos of nameless young women and gives him a deadline to find them; if Campbell fails, the girls die. Soon the clock is ticking, victims are dying, Campbell is cracking under the pressure, and so on. First-time feature director Joe Charbanic, who also co-wrote the script, cut his teeth on music video (including several for Reeves' band Dogstar) and gives the film an edgy, artfully gloomy look. But revitalizing a genre as overworked as this one is no job for beginners, and if Reeves weren't onboard this picture would have gone straight to video like countless others of its kind.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Have you heard the one about the diabolically clever serial killer and the troubled cop he draws into his perverted world of death and psychological torture? Sure you have — in fact, if you like serial killer stories, you've heard it lots of times. An… (more)

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