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A law student takes a job as the night-watchman in a morgue, thinking that he will have much time to study, with his biggest problem being his paranoia in this scary setting. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and the student ends up getting mixed up with one of the murders, becoming a suspect. Written by
Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Largo al factotum
Written by Gioachino Rossini (as Gioacchino Rossini)
Performed by Riccardo Stracciari with The Orchestra of Milan
Courtesy of Arkadia Records by arrangement with Qualiton Imports, Ltd. See more »
Sporadically enjoyable thriller which can't live up to its premise
Student Ewan McGregor gets himself a part time job in a morgue, he presumes this will give him some quiet time as he studies for his degree. However, in this morgue the dead don't rest easy- it would appear that a serial killer who also indulges in necrophilia is making occasional visits. Could this just be paranoia on McGregor's part? It would appear not as he soon becomes chief suspect...
This promising premise is let down, in part, through the unsure direction of Ole Bornedal. The film begins in a vein not dissimilar to that of Se7en and seems to be setting up for a serial killer/thriller style. This soon changes to an approach more suited to teen slashers and then switches to a horror style before seeming to flick between them at will. This mix doesn't gel well at all and leaves the film feeling a little lost at times.
Josh Brolin who plays Ewan McGregor's friend in the film plays a character you feel like you have seen a hundred times before in teen slashers: plays by his own rules, pretty unlikeable but has his good side and you have your suspicions about him by the first scene. Ewan McGregor gets the paranoia spot on but is by and large quite forgettable, the same could be aimed at Patricia Arquette.
For its faults, there is still enough on offer to merit a watch. The scenes which take a more horror style approach work very well in the morgue and do give quite a tense atmosphere at times. Also, Nick Nolte turns in an eye-catching and enjoyable performance despite playing a role which you feel he could do in his sleep (he's playing a gruff detective). And Brad Dourif is perfectly cast as the creepy duty doctor, his knowing performance raises a smile.
The film has enough to keep you watching to its conclusion but will leave you disappointed at not being able to fully deliver on what could've been a very affecting thriller.
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