5.9/10
17,111
139 user 103 critic

Suspect Zero (2004)

A mysterious serial killer is hunting other serial killers - and one FBI agent suspects there may be more to the vigilante than they imagine.

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Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rich Charleton
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Julian Reyes ...
Highway Patrolman
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Raymond Starkey
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Loretta
Ellen Blake ...
Dolly
William B. Johnson ...
Mel
Jerry Gardner ...
Sheriff Harry Dylan
Daniel Patrick Moriarty ...
Bud Granger
Curtis Plagge ...
Jumbo
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Katie Potter
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Bill Grieves
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Storyline

When Dallas FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway violates serial killer Raymond Starkey's civil rights during an unorthodox arrest, Starkey goes free and Mackelway is demoted to a remote branch of the agency in Albuquerque. His first day on the job, Mackelway investigates the murder of traveling salesman Harold Speck, which turns out to be the first of three seemingly random killings. Perhaps they are not random at all. The last to die is Mackelway's nemesis, Raymond Starkey. The assignment consumes him, his past mistakes haunt him, and his head throbs constantly as he tries to find the link between the victims that will lead him to their killer while the case becomes increasingly gruesome and patently personal. This does not go unnoticed by his unflappable partner Fran Kulok, who knows of Mackelway's past and the demons that afflict him. Like Mackelway, she becomes drawn into the labyrinth of chilling clues, all of which point to the enigmatic Benjamin O'Ryan. O'Ryan clearly has a connection ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content, language and some nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

27 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nullkahtlusalune  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,446,375 (USA) (27 August 2004)

Gross:

$8,712,564 (USA) (15 October 2004)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The DVD contained a video showing a Taoist technique to open the 3rd eye in order to remote view See more »

Goofs

(at around 27 mins) Mackleway is looking at a newspaper clipping dated Friday, October 23, 2001. Tuesday is the actual day of the week for that date. See more »

Quotes

Piper: Ever see a 50-foot shark?
Thomas Mackelway: I'm sorry?
Piper: A 50-foot shark. You ever seen one?
Thomas Mackelway: No.
Piper: Doesn't mean there aren't any.
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Crazy Credits

The opening Paramount logo is brown (to resemble the desert) and the water in the Intermedia logo is black. See more »

Connections

References Deep Red (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne Opus 55, No. 1, F Minor
(1843)
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Fryderyk Francois Chopin)
Performed by John H. Skehan III
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User Reviews

The kind of film that might have you stay awake when viewed on HBO at 2:30 in the morning
17 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Suspect Zero, a new mystery/horror/thriller/detective-FBI film, tries to make a lot of twists and turns in telling a story that is perhaps all-too-simple at the core. While the acting is fair by the leads (Kingsley, as a man who may or may not be the suspect, plays a tortured soul better than anyone I can think of; Eckhardt and Moss are credible if maybe mis-matched), the script is something of a turn-off. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense, despite a cameo from Robert Towne (uncredited on this site) as a professor who tries to give a little explaining to the FBI agent played by Eckhardt. It's not that the idea of it isn't bad, but it doesn't engage a viewer in a way other thrillers can.

What the film has going for it is the direction. This is E. Elias Merhige's third film after his impenetrable art-house film Begotten (arguably one of the most pretentious, deranged, if unique debuts of the 90's) and small success Shadow of a Vampire (a film that gave Malkovich and Dafoe excellent screen time as silent film icons). The style is more than flamboyant- it's madness. Merhige tries his best to get inside the atmosphere that this killer and it's tracker(s) are in, and he succeeds by almost trying too hard. It reminded me of a kind of avant-garde approach to directing one of those HBO thrillers you might catch late at night. While he doesn't do a job as memorable as 'Shadow', and outside of Kingsley and maybe Eckhardt doesn't elicit very good acting, him and Michael (Raging Bull/Taxi Driver) Chapman bring out a technical aspect with tints and angles and shots that aren't too diverting.

It's the kind of film that misses the mark of great, twisted, FBI-serial killer murder mysteries, and I would not seek it out to rent, but it didn't leave too sour of a taste in my mouth, and I didn't want to walk out of it midway either. It's average fare that could've been better, could've been a lot worse. (strong) C


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