A big-city cop from L.A. moves to a small-town police force and immediately finds himself investigating a murder. Using theories rejected by his colleagues, the cop, John Berlin, meets a ...
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A big-city cop from L.A. moves to a small-town police force and immediately finds himself investigating a murder. Using theories rejected by his colleagues, the cop, John Berlin, meets a young blind woman named Helena, who he is attracted to. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and only John knows it. Written by
No, not the seventh sequel to "Jennifer, the Snake Goddess"
"Jennifer 8" is a passable thriller with an exceptional cast and a relatively cohesive story, but much like the "gialli" of Dario Argento, it's a film that doesn't have the good sense to quit while it's ahead, and expects to tie things up with a reveal that is just so much hastily-assembled pop-psychology cliché. Set in a pervasively dreary New England state, Andy Garcia plays a LA cop who's transferred in order to be under the command of mentor Lance Henriksen, and discovers a bloodied brassiere and a severed hand at the scene of an apparent suicide; thus is unearthed a casefile on a string of murders targeting blind women as a masked assailant goes back into action, stalking attractive music teacher Uma Thurman (who gives a performance better than the material deserves). While some of writer-director Bruce Robinson's plot points feel tangled (or lost completely) as the film progresses, and much of the staging is without flair (even a cat-and-mouse chase through a deserted dorm midway through doesn't play as suspensefully as it could have), the stellar cast really recoups the shortcomings, just barely earning my recommendation. While Andy Garcia's sometimes-frantic line readings and bug-eyed expressions make him a dubious choice for the lead, he plays well off his more seasoned costars, particularly Henriksen (whose profane, hard-boiled zingers remind us why he is one of cinema's best-kept character-actor secrets); additionally, John Malkovich shows up late in the game for a brilliantly-performed interrogation scene that, while seemingly extraneous to the ongoing plot, is nevertheless worth watching for the man's undeniable chops (like Charles Bronson, he basically plays the same character in each film--but does it quite well). And, as stated earlier, Thurman exudes the likability, intelligence, and beauty that would rightly launch her into stardom. As a thriller, "Jennifer 8" might be lower-drawer, but as an actor's showcase it holds up pretty well.
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