THE ZODIAC takes a different look at the famous Zodiac Killer case from other screen treatments of the murders. More than a simple crime story, the film is an emotional thriller focusing on the murders' impact on victims, their families and the wider community. The film follows a police detective and his son who become obsessed with the murders and endanger their family in the process.Written by
This film either suffers from poor marketing or from having the wrong title; it's no more about the actual Zodiac killer than "Summer of Sam" was about the Son of Sam. It merely uses the infamous slayings as a backdrop for how a community, a police department, and one officer in particular were affected by the traumatic events.
Although most of the depictions of the murders were eerie and well-done, the real focus of the film is how the taunting nature of the killer and the lack of hard evidence plays havoc with the psyche of lead detective Matt Parish (Chambers). As the case wears on and the pressure mounts to catch the killer, Parish begins to distance himself from his caring wife (Prison Break's Tunney) and odd son (Culkin). Ironically it is near the end of the movie that we see one of the more dramatic scenes, when a drunken, frustrated Matt comes home to a locked house and orders his wife to leave the door unlocked, not to bow down to the psycho. She looks at him incredulously and screams at him, saying "he's still out there and he knows where we live". Matt stumbles out of the house, and a montage of the dramatic events that were taking place in the world at the time (moon landing, Vietnam, the Manson slayings) is run while the song "Time(Has Come Today)" by The Chambers Brothers plays. It leads up to a chilling scene of the killer donning his creepy hooded costume and committing one of his more heinous killings, viciously stabbing two lovers to death in a field in broad daylight. Powerful stuff.
Unfortunately the movie wraps up rather quickly after that, but it did leave some indelible moments. It was a serial killer flick from a different perspective, and I applaud the director for trying something new. "Time" will soon tell if David Fincher's soon-to-be re-leased version carries more weight and delivers on the killer's last words that he is "waiting for a good movie about me". This film may not be directly about him, but it's still pretty good.
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