an ounce of originality's worth a ton of polished acting
I saw this late at night recently on premium cable, and I got more amusement from it than from any of the top moneymakers of 2002. Is it me? I guess. Maybe my brain's been rotted by one too many formulaic thrillers and vacuous big-budget special effects extravaganzas. At any rate, five minutes in it was obvious this was my kind of movie. It has that spark.
The bad news first: David Carradine sucks. Fortunately he's only in a small part of it, in spite of top billing. And, ok, some other subpar acting, but not by the main characters. Some of the 'real' characters (in the parallel documentary movie w/i a movie) are bad actors, but in a way this is covered by the fact that they're supposed to be real people put on camera -- so hey, wouldn't you be a bit stiff?
The good news. The script is so witty and multi-leveled you wouldn't mind reading it. You want to savor this stuff, there's so little of it around. These writers are funny.
Since there are alot of great characters, I want to credit them. (Not that many people are likely to read this.) I particularly enjoyed Bob Balaban's seemingly off-the-cuff performance as the smarmy, BS'ing and yet bestselling psychologist -- speculating for the camera on why serial killers kill. Maybe there's a prototype for this character somewhere, but to me it was deliciously original. Darren Burrows I loved as the wacky and cheery young guy who has unusual ambitions. And Joe Unger as the morose local yokel cop who get's the case (and hot tuna surprise in the face) but who gives as good as he gets: Asked the eternal question by the documentary crew about why serial killers kill, he remarks without emphasis: "I don't know, I never thought about it until I met you guys." (Or something like that.)The whole movie is rife with this kind of understated humor. It's great.
BTW, if you're into this intellectually perverse, low budget, twisted but not sick kind of black humor, check out these other underrated gems: Eating Raoul, TerrorVision, Re-animator, $lasher$, and The Evil Dead.
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