The story centers on around the mysterious death of repeat drunk driving offender Thacker and the discovery of his body in an alley behind the Marshalltown, Iowa, police department after his latest DUI arrest.
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In Rochester, a pre-teen girl is abducted, raped, and murdered. Detective Megan Paige investigates: she works long hours obsessively, and soon she's seeing visions of the dead girl. The FBI profiles the killer as a spontaneous drifter, lucky not to get caught; Megan thinks he's local and a methodical planner. She notes that the victim's first and last names and the place the body was left start with "C." When a second murder follows the same pattern, Megan is vindicated, but her obsessions get the best of her, and her mental state impedes her work. With the help of medication, therapy, and a friend, can she regain her equilibrium and catch the alphabet killer? Written by
Eliza Dushku is the one who delivers in this fairly predictable serial killer story, reminiscent of such films as "Gothika" and "Jennifer Eight". There are also a lot of serial killer movie alumni populating the lesser roles of this film, like Bill Moseley, Timothy Hutton, Tom Noonan and Cary Elwes. They don't really matter though, because it's all about Dushku's character Megan Paige and her late onset schizophrenia which makes it very difficult for her to crack the case of the Alphabet killer, as well as keep the confidence of her fellow police officers.
Movies that focus on characters with mental disorders are often interesting and unpredictable, like Polanski's "Repulsion" or Fincher's "Fight Club" because they makes the audience question what's reality in the movie and what's just playing out inside the mind of the main character. Unfortunately this isn't one of those movies. Instead of trying to make the audience share in Megan's delusions, they are clearly separated and labeled to avoid any confusion, or excitement for that matter. Instead we are made to watch her from the outside and see her struggling to connect with her colleagues and convince them that she's completely sane despite her textbook "crazy person" behavior. Like I said, Dushku delivers a solid performance as a distraught, emotionally unstable and sometimes delusional police woman. It's just hard to get invested in her character because of the boring predictable story she slowly fights her way through.
There is not a single supporting character that comes off as more than some kind of one-dimensional stereotype. There's the honest cop, the crooked cop, the former lover, the one true friend, the calm doctor, the obvious suspect, the creepy priest and eventually, for a brief time at the end, the killer... non of them with any significant character development or depth. This movie isn't painful to watch and it's not poorly made, it just suffers from lack of imagination on the directors part and some sloppy writing. See it, don't see it... doesn't really matter.
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