Liberal district attorney decides to seek the death penalty for a man who slaughtered a family at Christmastime, then drank their blood. He escapes, though, and starts killing again. Written by
After five people have been viciously murdered in suburban California, the police arrest Charles Edmund Reece for the crimes for which he slaughtered two families and drank their blood for cleansing. Liberal district attorney Anthony Fraser is put onto the case, where he has to convince the jury that the killer wasn't insane during those acts, so he can be found guilty of the charges to receive the actual death penalty. However the religious Anthony doesn't believe in that justice, but after seeing the aftermaths, and the victims of the ordeal, he goes out to nail him.
Talk about an admirably confronting and dreary cold-blooded thriller with no easy way out, but one that raises many ethical questions on the insanity plea to escape the death penalty. William Friedkin's "Rampage" has a routine set-up to its premise (taken of William P. Wood's novel), but there's enough emotional engagement and fascination that demands your interest. Friedkin who also wrote the sedate screenplay tries to delve a little deeper into the circumstances with some background and motivation. The way they look into the mind of the killer and try to explain his way of thinking is unnerving and unpredictable. While the stirring script wants to be thought provoking, it still could have used a touch up as some unconvincing details enter. This one plays out more like a bitter courtroom drama with the damaging effects of the incidents engulfing those who happen to be involved one-way or another, as the psycho-thriller part of the story coming off as seconds. However these moments are highly potent with unsparingly disturbing, intense and callous images and feelings finding their way in. What makes these scenes effective and stay in your mind is that they aren't cheap jolts. Ennio Morricone's simmering low-key score lends to the chilling and glum nature that blankets the air, and the sweeping doco-style camera-work gives it a bit of leering authenticity. However like some others have mentioned, it does feel like a TV-movie. Alex McArthur's casual performance is disquieting and really creepy, especially how he goes about killing his victims and seeking forgiveness for his actions. Michael Biehn is in exceptionally fine form as the public attorney. Friedkin's dependably gallant and dark direction covers most bases and steers to a psychological graduation of perfect timing. One solid aspect is that Friedkin truly makes you feel as if you're apart of the jury, as if your mind-set has an important say in deciding the fate of this man.
Provocative, but not entirely perfect.
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