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35 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Revenge of the Fundies

Author: in1984 from United States
3 February 2010

This film keeps you guessing from the start. It never dwells too long on any point, so it never gets dull or tedious.

In general terms, it's a murder mystery in reverse that's a combination of horror and psycho-thriller.

In terms of acting and direction, nothing seems artificial or forced as tends to be the case whenever a little girl and a dog are involved. The director does an excellent job of blending the cute, mass appeal elements with the rest of the film so nothing becomes overly cutesy or fake.

Possibly the best part is that all the twists, even those that don't seem to make sense, end up making sense, including the title. It's a rare film that would work very well as a book.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

one of those it's not....

Author: MLDinTN from TN
3 June 2011

what it seems type of movies. I thought this movie was pretty good. It had suspense, torture, and of course a twist. It's about a woman, Helen, whose religious leader husband was killed years earlier. She has hired a sort of mercenary to track down those involved with the murder and her being set on fire. The mercenary believes he has found one of those involved, photographer, Ethan. So, he tortures Ethan in trying to get him to confess. All the while, Helen and her son whom survived the attack watch. Ethan professes his innocence and says he has proof. But, the question is will Helen or the mercenary believe him? Ethan's wife and daughter also become involved.

FINAL VERDICT: Suspenseful and twisted. Worth a viewing.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

read between the lines...

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
3 August 2011

I recommend this film highly, not sure why all the hate. There are good performances and it touches on something which exists in our society today, whether people choose to see the reality or not.

Cary Elwes is a photojournalist who lives in NYC and is on the verge of being evicted. He lives with a daughter and is estranged from his wife. The film starts as he drops his daughter off to be with her mother. He has a golden retriever named "Mao".

We see flashbacks of an earlier pivotal incident which involves Brian Cox (always excellent, look for him in "Manhunter" and "The Minus Man" with Mercedes Ruehl and Owen Wilson as a serial killer).

Cox is an evangelical preacher, preaching hate, and that change in America can start with "just one match" and other such comments, along the lines of David Duke. His wife is Andie McDowell, and she has a son who we now see in NYC is 18 years old. He and his mother survived the attack but "an eye for eye" dictates they must now avenge the violence, and death of their religious leader.

I will not divulge the outcome but the theme here is interesting. Frank Whaley also belongs to this religious group and in NYC he tells Elwes "I was saved in prison my leader, he was a good man". He is a zealot, but resents anyone in New York who isn't "like him". He berates the local the news stand owner, "this city is "filled with foreigners" he remarks ignorantly.

McDowell is surprisingly good here, a southern woman with values about to be toppled, she has survived the horror of third degree burns over most of her body.

The director and writer have ventured into territory which is real here. Preaching hatred and violence leads to nothing, but death. Whether you are in New York City or Alabama.9/10.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Nice Little Thriller

Author: Dinosaw from Sydney, Australia
11 April 2011

I'm upset at how this wasn't released in theatres. It's probably because it didn't have a big-name cast. I'm also daunted by the fact that it isn't known at all, judging by the IMDb ratings.

I found the film quite thought-provoking, gripping and tense. It was one the better thrillers I've seen in the recent years.

The cast was amazing, Frank Whaley played a good (anti) villain, which was unexpected for me, as he is doesn't look "villainy". For a straight to DVD film, the cinematography and the direction were high grade. I really loved the music in this the most, as it was very suspenseful and heart-pumping. I full on expected an indie/minimalist score, but it was the opposite: high octane Hollywood music that will keep your adrenaline rushing.

The film, if you didn't know, has a twist ending, but I'm sure many smart people will predict it. But I loved it, as it gave this film more depth and shock value.

If you want to watch a little thriller with suspense throughout, this will be a good one. I'm glad I found this film. It's a very underrated and a quite overlooked one.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not the best Thriller in the World... but far from the worst.

Author: HomelessKev from United Kingdom
19 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cary Elwes plays Ethan Belfrage. A weekend Dad Photo-Journalist who's separated from his wife. One afternoon when returning to his apartment after walking his Golden Retriever, he is confronted by two men. Aaron (Frank Whaley) and Jake (Matt Dallas). He is beaten and strung up by his neck, and that's where Helen (Andie MacDowell) comes in. He's accused of murdering Helens husband, and Aaron, Helen and Jake seek revenge for his death. Ethan continues to protest his innocence.

First of all, I don't know what other reviewers were expecting from a straight to DVD title. Sure the effects aren't great, but then there is very little in the way of effects. It also isn't as 'dark' as some reviewers would have you believe. In my opinion, Disney's; "The Black Cauldron" (1985) is a darker movie.. and that's for kids! There is a small amount of violence, but it's nowhere near as violent as let's say.. 'Reservoir Dogs' (1992) You'll have seen this kind of 'twist' before, but again, movies go straight to DVD for a reason!

Frank Whaley puts in a reasonable performance as Aaron. A born again Christian Nazi. Though he isn't a great character actor, I've admired his work since seeing his portrayal of Robby Krieger in 'The Doors' (1991), and he should be a more recognisable face in the industry. As Aaron, he portrays a reasonable villain and he delivers it well.

Andie MacDowell as Helen isn't fantastic. Helen is supposed to be a grieving, vengeful widow, but she misses the mark. I felt no empathy for Helen, and the performance from Macdowell was mediocre at best.

Cary Elwes pretty much plays Dr Lawrence Gordon from 'Saw' (2004). Though we're all familiar with the character, it works well in this straight to DVD title.

Matt Dallas is believable as 'scared kid' Jake, but again, you don't really feel for the character.

Im sorry Brian Cox didn't have a larger role in this Movie, but for the small part he had, he delivered well.

It's a one time only movie. If you happen to catch it on TV, give it a watch.

Lastly, the reviewer who says Ethan mysteriously ends up with a pocket knife to cut himself free. It's a knife that is taken out of the sink by Helen and given to Ethan secretly when she realises that Aaron is planning to kill them all. I seen it with my own two eyes.

And also, to the reviewer who complains about Ethan "taking up smoking" and then throwing the lighter to set the place ablaze.. Ethan is tied up for most of the movie. How does someone smoke when they're tied up? Give it a go... It's harder than you think! Even a light smoker would be jonesing for nicotine after being tied up for a few hours.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Violence For The Sake Of Violence; Brutality For The Sake Of Brutality

Author: sddavis63 ( from Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
24 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this largely on the basis of the cast. I like both Andie MacDowell and Cary Elwes. I admit that even just reading the plot outline made me uncomfortable - MacDowell plays a woman whose husband was a murdered white supremacist leader; Elwes plays the man she believed responsible for his death, so she and a couple of cohorts kidnap and seek revenge by torturing him. It sounded pretty brutal and unpleasant, but I do like both MacDowell and Elwes. So I watched it.

It is brutal and unpleasant. The extended opening part dealing with Ethan (Elwes) and his family and his troubles with his landlord seems kind of disconnected from the basic plot, and once Helen (MacDowell) and her team start taking their revenge on Ethan it does become a rather sick and twisted story, becoming even moreso as more and more people get drawn into the plot for revenge.

There's some potentially redeeming quality to this as long as you believe that Ethan really is innocent; a horrible victim of mistaken identity. In the end, though, the (unnecessary in my opinion) plot twist that closes the movie establishes that he really was there when Helen's husband was killed. So he loses much of the sympathy that had been building for him and to me an already unpleasant movie just kind of fizzled out with the concluding scenes.

The fact that a movie is brutal and unpleasant doesn't make it a bad movie. This certainly keeps your attention as you wonder how far the trio of revenge seekers is willing to go, but in the end I just didn't find this to have had any real point or message. When all was said and done, it seemed to have been violence for the sake of violence; brutality for the sake of brutality. It had no redeeming qualities once it was over. It deserves some credit for managing to hold my attention, but it loses a lot for, in the end, leaving me very disappointed and empty. (5/10)

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Stagy With Slapped Together Twists And Turns

Author: schweinehunder from Canada
16 October 2011

While the general premise, in other words, the motivating factors of the antagonists, is quite good in that it's atypical, interesting, and makes a lot of sense as the motivating factor for these people to make the protagonist's life a living hell for most of the running time of this film, it was thrown into a ridiculously overstaged package.

Firstly, the guy they're after just HAPPENS to be one of two of the last holdouts preventing the demolition of a building in the way of a big real estate venture. And why is he in this position unlike virtually every single other apartment dweller in New York? So the bad guys can make as much noise and be as sloppy as they want while they interrogate the guy in his apartment without having to fear any intervention by police or neighbours. Regardless, if they wanted to interrogate him and not kill him outright, to avoid getting caught, the only sensible option would be to isolate him on his own, probably at night, throw him into a van, and drag him out into the country or the woods.

However, these criminals clearly WANT to get caught since they don't even wear gloves. One of them reveal's he's an ex-con who REALLY doesn't want to go back to prison, so to me, right off the bat this movie becomes impossible to take seriously. In addition to this, they happen to be very LUCKY and strangely brazen as they break into this guy's apartment a mere 30 seconds after the police visit him, and it happens to be the one time his door isn't locked for fear of his landlord's goons, and only because his dog distracted him. Another example of how lucky they are, is when the mother and daughter show up and the daughter runs away with one of the bad guys following her. She runs into a woman and doesn't ask for help or say what's going on, and simply waits for the bad guy to catch up, who pretends to be her father and calmly walk her back into the building. This really made no sense at all.

Also, The way the protagonist escapes being bound by suddenly producing a pocket knife that seemed to come out of nowhere and breaking free at the perfect time seemed so ordained to happen as yet another tacked on plot device. I won't give away who comes out on top at the end, but it's important to note that burning bodies doesn't wash away their identity, as their teeth would almost always be able to match their dental records, so to be effective you would have to individually pull out the teeth from the dead bodies.

this film would be a total waste of time altogether if it wasn't for the presence of Frank Whaley who's acting is simply amazing, and I'm surprised he's not more widely recognized because as a character actor he's right up there. Andie Macdowell as the mother on the other hand basically came across as a lame phony southern caricature, which seemed false and irritating. Altogether, It's an OK film for one time viewing, as you certainly don't get bored, but if you're a thinking person you might want to give this one a miss, because the staginess, and the characters stupid actions which I didn't fully get into, will irritate you.

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3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Wow...bad in every way

Author: Mike Coppola from New York
19 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, to the person who said the best part was the're crazy. That was the absolute WORST part of a terrible film!

The acting was awful, it was very poorly written (I could go on and on about all the plot holes, frustrating character actions, and all around unexplained lack of story or substance.) And the directing was horrid. Way too many cuts on dual dialog scenes, not interesting shots, very predictable, and too many cliché moments, (i.e. lighting the cigarette and throwing the lighter to set the place ablaze...give me a break. Funny how he didn't smoke throughout the entire film and chose that moment to start.

Do not waste your time. God Awful>

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16 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Pretty awful...

Author: badoli from Vienna, Austria
19 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie starts really nice, the acting was quite convincing at first, especially by Cary Elwes. I liked how the story unfolds, even though the main protagonist's actions are sometimes confusing.

In the further progression of the story, it's highly disappointing to watch the rather forced turnarounds and the whole construction falls apart like a card house. At the end you have a totally different movie that you started to watch. Especially the final solution to the main murder mystery turns out to be ridiculous and painful to endure. And i never really liked Andie McDowell, here she's definitely at her worst.

Best watch this until about two thirds of the time, turn the TV off and think of an own idea how that movie might have ended. You'll surely come up with a better story than what this piece of garbage leaves you with.

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9 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A case of mistaken identity leads one man on a wild ride

Author: dp809 from United States
25 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this movie at a friends house there were a few of us talking drinking not paying much attention as the first few minutes of this movie are dull about 10 to 15 minutes in it caught our attention.

The movie follows the main lead Ethan Belfrage as he is tortured under the beliefs he is the murderer of a religious leader,as the movie continues the torturers believe they might have the wrong man.I particularly liked the torture scenes in this movie not to far fetched like your saw franchise or chainsaw massacre type of unnecessary gore, they might not live up to the standards of the hardcore gore fans but they are more life like.The best performance in the movie in my opinion has to come from Aaron played by Frank Whaley you almost develop a annoyance from his character majority of the actors did a good enough job for the audience to relate to the characters,the story is nothing new the movie somewhat does keep you guessing till the end of who the good guys are so i would give this movie 5 stars i would not make the effort to specially watch this movie, but if you are looking for an average movie that will keep you entertained i would recommend this

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