Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution, the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style.


Gregory Hoblit


Nicholas Kazan
2,385 ( 297)
3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... John Hobbes
John Goodman ... Jonesy
Donald Sutherland ... Lt. Stanton
Embeth Davidtz ... Gretta Milano
James Gandolfini ... Lou
Elias Koteas ... Edgar Reese
Gabriel Casseus ... Art
Michael J. Pagan ... Sam
Robert Joy ... Charles
Frank Medrano ... Charles' Killer
Ronn Munro Ronn Munro ... Mini Golf Owner
Cynthia Hayden Cynthia Hayden ... Society Woman
Ray Xifo ... Society Man
Tony Michael Donnelly Tony Michael Donnelly ... Toby
Tara Carnes Tara Carnes ... Teenage Girl


Det. John Hobbes is convinced that when killer Edgar Reese is executed, all of his troubles are over. But when people he knows and people on the street start to sing the same tune that Reese sang in the gas chamber, and those same people taunt him, he is told that maybe the cursed fallen angel Azazel is behind it all. Azazel is cursed to roam the Earth without a form, and he can switch bodies by any contact, making him hard to track. When Hobbes is forced to kill a man possessed by Azazel, he must clear his name while protecting his family and others from the evil, vengeful Azazel. Written by Ben Borg <benborg@mediaone.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Detective John Hobbes is searching for a criminal he's already met... already caught... and already killed. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Denzel Washington did ride-alongs with local detectives to prepare for his role. He soon learned that some of the cops carried a second pair of shoes in the trunk of their cars while on duty since the shoes they were wearing would occasionally get blood on them at murder scenes. See more »


Azazel supposedly retains the memories of the people he possesses. However when he confronts Greta he doesn't recognize her, despite the fact that he had possessed her father when he failed to destroy him. He makes a comment that she looks familiar but he can't place her. See more »


[first lines]
Azazel: I wanna tell you about the time I almost died...
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Who Is He And What Is He To You
Written by Bill Withers and Stan McKenny
Performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
Courtesy of Maverick Recording Company/Reprise Records
By Arrangement With Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

Denzel Washington is fantastic
19 August 2020 | by SimonD1900See all my reviews

I started watching this movie, knowing nothing about it more then it was a crime thriller about some serial killer, which usually is decent entertainment, not gonna lie. This movie started out in the usual way that these type of movies usually goes, still seemed promising, I really liked the characters and the vibe. Then it took a turn and first I thought "oh no, it's turning in to one of those movies" but then I realized it was still good, even better, I actually liked it a lot, it just wasn't what I first thought it would be. I believe this script could easily had become somewhat of a cheesy horror movie in the wrong hands, but not here, it's very well directed; has this gritty vibe and feel, like a David Finch movie kind of. And you're kept in suspense trough the whole movie, not knowing what's going to happen or how things will go down. And the acting is very good, supurb really. Very good dynamics between all characters, even side characters. I think this is Goodmans best role in his career. And Denzel takes the whole movie to another level, he is one of those actor that can do that, I think he must be one of the, if not the, greatest actor in American cinema actually. Anyway, this a good movie all I can say. Kind of an underrated movie but a real gem. I also appreciate it when movies can be creepy and scary without having to use gore or torture scenes. This movie is actually kind of refreshing, even if the premise isn't completely new, this movie really has it's own character.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

16 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fallen See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,401,586, 19 January 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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