The Lazarus Project (2008) Poster

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7/10
Intriguing Thriller
Claudio Carvalho7 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In Dallas, Texas, the family man Ben Garvey (Paul Walker) is on probation but he is a hard worker of the Fort Garry Brewery Company and lives a simple life with his beloved wife Lisa (Piper Perabo) and their daughter Katie (Brooklynn Proulx). When his probation period finishes, Ben's brother Ricky (Shawn Hatosy) visits him after being released from prison and invites Ben to heist 12 kg of gold in dust from a laboratory. Ben refuses the invitation but he is fired from his job because of his record; he decides to join Ricky and his partner Phelps (Alex Sol) in the robbery. However things go wrong and Ricky, Phelps and a security guard die in the heist and Ben is sentenced to death for the murders. After his execution through lethal injection, Ben awakes working as housekeeper of the Monte Angel community in Dundee, Oregon, for Father Ezra (Bob Gunton), who explains to him that his past life is gone and now he is having a second chance. However he should never cross the boundaries of the location, otherwise he would die. Ben feels confused with the weird situation but he can not forget Lisa and Katie and forces Ezra to give a plausible explanation to him. But while working in the garden, Ben finds a frisby on the grass; he investigates and discloses the secret of the facility.

"The Lazarus Project" is an intriguing thriller with an original story and great acting of the talented Paul Walker and Piper Perabo. The plot has flaws, but is engaging, well constructed and it was a nice surprise for me. The twists do not surprise like, for example, the plot point of "Jacob's Ladder", but entertains and is reasonably tight. The politically correct conclusion is commercial and corny, reducing the impact of the good story, but works reasonably well. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Entre a Vida e a Morte" ("Between the Life and the Death")
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8/10
Derivative but highly watchable psycho-drama
bob_gilmore124 October 2008
After facing lethal injection for a multiple murder that he happened to be the only survivor of, our hero awakens to find that he is the grounds keeper at a mental hospital for priests deep in the forests of Oregon. He faces the normal confusion that would be expected by such a turn of events but actually starts to get used to this second chance at life even though he has been told by a visionary figure that he can not ever return to his old life with his wife and child. Things really start getting weird after that.

While the film is sharply derivative of many other better films ranging from "The Shining" to "Jacob's Ladder" it gets by and remains entertaining because it is the type of film that hits it's modest targets squarely on. The pacing is not exactly brisk so if you require your movies to keep you awake and alert then this might not be the DVD rental for you but this psychological drama is definitely worth a rental especially if you like this type of stuff
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7/10
a haunting drama
lordlahkra11 October 2008
a psychological thriller that will make you think from the the beginning to the end. although a bit slow in the first parts to the middle, thats why its a psychological thriller, the climax to the end compensated for it.

the lines are well delivered, a good script, all in all, a good movie. the acting's pretty convincing, particularly the way the lead actor tracks down the roots of his dilemma and the way he acted on it. i just gave it a seven coz, as i have said, the first parts makes me sleepy.

just keep in mind that this in not for those who liked fast paced or some such types of movies.
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4/10
Swiss cheese
Ismaninb11 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
To summarize: good acting, beautiful camera-work, lousy story with holes as big as in swiss cheese. To name a few: Ben gets the capital punishment for a robbery gone wrong, while he even did not wear a weapon. The evil shrink applies a program that violates a few laws but does not protect the computer on which the patient data are stored. We see a female psychiatrist being so unprofessional to make overtures to a patient - fortunately no sex involved. The evil shrink and his staff try to convince Ben that all this has been fantasy and hallucination. Still it takes Ben no effort at all to refind his dog in the nearest asylum. Somehow the movie managed a grip on me strong enough to sit through it to the cheesy end, but the main feeling afterwards is annoyance.
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8/10
This movie is slow????
Souvik Chatterjee20 October 2008
The different posts and reviews for this movie has one thing in common. They all say its a slow-paced movie. And thats what made me write this review. I will not dwell much on the story because the story itself is the main interest in this film. Rather, I would just discuss the so called 'slowness' of the film. For the people who said this is slow: What did you expect? A 10 min long movie? This movie is not slow. Period. The film is very well paced and fast. I did not find a frame in the movie to get up from my seat or even blink. Thats how fast this movie is. I do not really understand the understandings of cine-lovers when they say its not a well paced film. Really! Watch this movie. A great movie with a great storyline. Hollywood had started to getting boring the last few months and this movie breaks that numbness. Another great thriller. 8/10, Undoubtedly.
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8/10
Excellent movie....
Jack theRipper21 October 2008
Just finished watching this and I must say i am glad i saw it...Many viewers have commented that the movie is very slow paced, esp to start with but i disagree.I think the director got the pacing spot on.

The movie is about an ex-con played by Paul walker who is trying to start a new life and make it good for himself and his family but fate has other plans and he is pushed back into the world he is so badly trying to escape...soon we find out that nothing is wat it seems and the movie is thrilling all the way..

All the actors do justice to their roles and the screenplay is tight and gripping....its a nice thriller with a lot of emotions as well....Paul walker is getting type-cast but i guess thats because he is so good at these kinda movies/roles....

all in all a movie worth your time and money and i would certainly recommend it......8/10
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4/10
Slow story, weak twists, good acting
Herve Andrieu12 October 2008
The base story was interesting: a criminal given a second chance at a decent life. Unfortunately the whole plot moves very slowly and it comes with quite a few things that do not seem very likely. After 35 minutes, I was still wondering where this was going. Paul Walker is performing as usual and I was surprised to see Lambert Wilson having such a small part in the movie. Overall I would say that the performance of the actors was what made the movie watchable till the end. Without those actors I would have stopped watching this movie. The director did a decent work, but unfortunately based on a weak plot, with unlikely twists and slow story. I would not recommend going to the theater to watch this movie, DVD release is quite enough.
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2/10
Very Slow; Huge Plot Holes
seer026 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a terrible movie. Sorry about the spoilers, but I need them to point out the huge plot holes: 1. Convicted of murder -- He and his cohorts had no weapons, he wasn't even in the room when gunfire went off, and the only ones to do the shooting (and killing) were the cops. Even if he's considered an accomplice, no one was murdered; they were all killed by cops. OK, it was Texas, so perhaps he had some marijuana on him.

2. After his "lethal" injection, we next see him on a road in Oregon, and a "priest" picks him up, asking him if he's the new grounds-keeper. He says he is. How did he get to Oregon? Or to this road? Let's say he was drugged and just placed on the road -- so how did he know he is the grounds-keeper? He never even asks anyone what they mean by he's being given a second chance.

3. He gets on a bus out of town to go back to his family. Some stranger tells him that if he stays on the bus he will die. Even though he wants to see his family more than anything, he gets off the bus because of what the stranger says.

4. Near the end, the doctor explains how this is a program to rehabilitate violent murders. We've already seen that he wasn't even a murderer, but he also had no history at all of violence. So of the thousands of violent murderers they could have chosen, they picked him, who needed no rehabilitation anyway?

5. They let him go when he says he mailed the info on the project to "someone," and they will be exposed if they don't let him go. So they let him go??? Don't they think it's a bigger risk to have him walking around blabbing his mouth off?

6. He returns home, and his wife goes out to give him a hug. No questions about if he's ghost, or a clone, or whatever, just a hug. And, really, how are they going to explain to the authorities (not to mention friends and family) why a convicted, executed murderer is back living with his family?

All of the above "action" takes up about 10 minutes of the film. The rest of the time is used for shots of him thinking. Or walking slowly. Or having a coffee. Or giving one-word answers to questions.

A terrible, terrible movie. 2 stars because the acting was OK, and the direction and cinematography was not as bad as the plot.
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9/10
A great underrated gem of a movie
PersianPlaya4087 July 2009
This film is one of the most underrated films I have seen that came out in recent years. I found the subject matter very original and thought-provoking. Paul Walker plays a man who experiences something which seems to be fatal, and is transformed into a new life with a second chance, but can't figure out if he actually died an is reborn, or if he survived the incident but is given a new life. It has a nice psychological appeal to it, as well as fresh cinematography and musical score to go with it. Kudos to Jerzy Zielnski for shooting it well an Brian Tyler's suitable music.

I can't say Paul Walker was stunning in the lead, but he was convincing, as he was in Running Scared which is another great film. I thought Lazarus Project is an original, innovative, entertaining, thriller that still manages to make some interesting arguments rather than just being about special effects, action and the usual Hollywood antics. I was impressed. 9/10 #184 on my list of all time favorite movies.
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2/10
Ridiculous concept
pepekwa30 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
One of my favorite films is the Assassin,where a convicted killer is spared death only if she agrees to train and become an assassin for the government. If she refuses, she gets a bullet in the head as was originally intended. A tad preposterous but at least there's a point.

Here, we're meant to believe a man is not given a lethal injection as intended but sent to work as a groundskeeper at a facility where he is not under lock and key but told to just forget about his family which at the end of the day is his point of existence! All this so a priest/father can try and change his mindset, I would have loved to have seen the father convincing the Texas authorities to keep him alive for that purpose, that SHOULD have been the movie! And when he does get on the bus to try and go see them, the "guide" tells him not to and he just walks off the bus and doesn't try again. Then at the end, when he does go back to Texas to see them, his wife welcomes her dead husband like he's just come back from a business trip. And, of course the authorities made no attempt to stop this "dead" man return home. If you can get past these gigantic plot holes and poorly conceived ideas, I guess there's a half decent film in there but for me, zero credibility means it has no point.
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7/10
Uncle Sam will take care of you!
jan-86218 October 2008
I didn't think too much of this movie after reading the plot, but fortunately there are these pleasant surprises. Although the story is very thin, I think the acting is great. Paul Walker, whom I did not know before, is very convincing and so are the other characters. The movie is a bit dark, gloomy and sometimes you will feel lost, just like the main character. Bob Gunton is great as a priest, you will love him as you love your granddad. Don't be surprised that you will hardly find a reference from the title to the actual story. I will have to see the movie again to find out if there is one. But one thing is very clear, this is a must see if you prefer acting above action.
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8/10
Sorry For The Cliché But........"Pleasantly Surprised"
Daggerville218 October 2008
My friend stumbled across this film on the net, and lent it to me on high recommendation. My friend and I really don't have similar tastes in movies though, so initially I was more skeptical than anything else about the film. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about, The Lazarus Project is a legitimate sleeper.

The movie opens with a man named Ben (Paul Walker) and his wife and daughter at home. Ben has recently been released from prison after a fair amount of time served. The film then moves onto showing the audience how Ben is rehabilitated and trying to make a good life for his family and himself. I wont say anymore to spoil anything, but something quite unexpected takes place to shake up the plot, and from there, you're off. This movie has great cinematography for its settings and Paul Walker, though still in a normal Paul Walker role, does show some potential talent in every necessary scene.

All in all, if you have a means of seeing The Lazarus Project, I would also highly recommend it to you. Follow along throughout, and when the credits role, you too may have that feeling of an unexpected treat.
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4/10
Unbelievable
kelokay-123 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Is he alive? Is he dead? Is he in Oregon? Is it Hell? Good acting which keeps you caring just enough. That and a curiosity in just how its going to pull together in the end. It does not. I was ready to accept Angels/Demons and maybe a sixth sense kind of ending. What I could not accept was a convicted criminal "executed" for a botched robbery, going home to his wife at the end as if it was all OK. Like the Police and Media wouldn't have a fit over that, not to mention his wife.Then you have to ask yourself just who thought it a good idea, and then had the power, to fake executions and leave the criminals in some town in Oregon with little or no supervision, give them a car, internet access, telephone, mail etc. Even the Democrats would Balk at that.
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Why give away the ending so early on?
fedor817 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
What TLP has going for it is the moody photography and the deliberately slow pace (which morons might interpret as "dull"). The main problem is that we're informed straight away - through Walker's flashbacks - that he'd been spared execution and given a new identity. Hence there was never any true dilemma as to how the film would end. Toward the end there was a brief attempt to sidetrack the viewer into thinking that Walker's past wasn't what we thought it was, but that quickly fizzled out, and not much later does he escape the premises (with absurd ease - don't they know he is a master-burglar?).

Far more ridiculous than Walker's leisurely escape is the premise. Given a supernatural twist, I'd be willing to overlook almost any nonsense, but because the story contains nothing out of the ordinary we are left with an idea that doesn't hold any water, no matter from which angle one looks at it. Why would the government, ANY government, waste that many resources on rehabilitating a handful of hardcore criminals? Why would they risk so much to help a few psychopaths and misfits, nearly all of them murderers? Why the hell would they be sent off to a remote town from which they could leave any time they choose?

In the last scene, Walker's wife, upon seeing that he is alive, reacts as if he'd been away for a business weekend. Not very realistic... Perhaps she's had several husbands before Walker, all of whom were convicted murderers, all of which escaped the Lazarus Project and came back to her... Perhaps she just thought: "Yep, he's back. I knew it. Those Lazarus staffers are so incompetent."
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7/10
Lazarus of Oregon.
Spikeopath13 July 2014
The Lazarus Project is directed by John Patrick Glen, who also co-writes the screenplay with Evan Astrowsky. It stars Paul Walker, Linda Cardellini, Piper Perabo, Bob Gunton, Malcolm Goodwin and Tony Curran. Music is by Brian Tyler and cinematography by Jerzy Zielinski.

A reformed criminal out on parole is beset by bad luck and finds himself sentenced to die by lethal injection. Strange then that once the lethal dose is administered, he wakes up working as a grounds-keeper at a psychiatric hospital…

John Glen's first directing assignment is very much a mixed bag, but if landing in the DVD/Blu-ray players of the right audience it could well gain some momentum in the wake of Walker's untimely death.

It's one of those films that operates at a funereal pace and thrives on other worldly atmosphere. After the introductions to the main character and his psychological make-up is out the way, pic shifts into a realm where we, as well as Walker's character, are never sure what is real or what is going on. Is he in some afterlife place? Is it all in his head? A dream? Drug induced? And etc. One of the smart things about the movie is that it binds the audience to the mystery by asking us to fill in the gaps with our own logic. While crucially the reveal comes at the right time so as to give us viewers the opportunity to re-evaluate the various quandaries that the piece has thrown up.

For those who like films like Jacob's Ladder, Shutter Island, The Jacket et al, then this has to be at the very least of interest, to warrant the chance to sell itself to those particular sub-genre fans, besides which, it also shows a string to Walker's acting bow that was rarely tapped into by other directors. And it's beautifully shot by Zielinski too. Contemplative, intriguing and even chilling as regards the various themes it deals with, this Lazarus deserves its own second coming. 7/10
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2/10
No. Just No.
dutchchocolatecake9 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. This movie was nowhere near worth the eight dollars and hour and a half of my life spent on it.

Where do I begin? Had this been a Lifetime movie, people would see just how crappy this movie really is. It really is *just* like one of those cheesy late night flicks on LMN pick-a-flick weekends.

The acting is competent, but that doesn't save the characters or story from poor writing. For a "psychological thriller" there is no depth or speck of imagination to be found. This kind of movie has been done several times in several different ways, and this version just happens to be more yawn worthy than most.

The characters are bland. Everyone is so perfectly two dimensional there's no challenge for the audience to engage in complexity of personality whatsoever.

This is a movie that tries to be more than it can. It tries to be a thriller, but the scenes are boring rather than creepy or intriguing. It tries to be a mystery, but everything is so obvious it can't be. It tries to be a suspenseful conspiracy, but it ends up falling on it's anticlimactic face with a saccharine sweet ending.

And rather than having a story that establishes a realistic situation in the beginning; the viewer is taken immediately to some bizarre parallel universe where men who don't carry guns are convicted and executed for the crimes of trigger happy cops. This same bizarre universe includes a newspaper that prints false stories, a dog named "dog," a psychiatric facility that gives entry level inmates complete run of the place, and a staff in charge so weak willed and unprepared for the event that an inmate of average intelligence figures out bullcrap for what it is.

There are some movies that succeed because they're just plain weird. There's some movies that succeed because they're just mindless entertainment. There's some movies that succeed because they can evoke a wide range of emotion within the audience. This movie FAILS on all those levels, and more.
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5/10
A man is sentence to die but somehow returns, finding himself working in Oregon.
ltlacey23 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
By the title we know that there is going to be some kind of experimentation going on, so that's a given and the audience expects as much. The first 20 minutes of the movie is not much more than giving the audience some background information. The man, Ben, served time, was on probation but soon off, had a decent job, and had a loving wife and daughter. His brother, Ricky, and just released from prison, makes a visit and tries to get Ben to come in on some job. Of course Ben says no since at this point in his life everything is good. But then Ben gets fired, because of his past, and now we're finally ready to go with our story. Ricky convinces Ben to do a job and does so by saying that if Ben does not help then Ricky's a dead man. Of course the worst happens, and Ben in convicted of the death of 3 people. Yes, the entire pace of the movie was slow, and the first 20 minutes were actually kind of boring, but there was anticipation as to exactly what was what as the movie moved along and throughout, until the last few minutes, the audience is kept guessing as to just what is what. I think this movie was meant to be slow, not because it was a thriller, but because life in general, especially if you are in a mental institution (either as a patient or as staff), is slow. Well, other than those times when patients run off. The acting was okay, considering, but IMO there were too many scenes where it was too dark to even see that there was something out there keeping an eye on Ben, and his flashbacks were too fast and with muddled dialogue to really know what was going on. What made me rate this movie so low was not the story, as I felt in general the concept was okay, nor the adequate acting, but the fact that a convicted killer is not only given a second chance, which is believable (they are called stays), but the way it was done and then the final scenes where Ben finally does leave the facility. As others have noted, one day your husband and father has been sentenced to die, and you are told he is dead and you bury him, and a year later he just shows back up? Wouldn't you want to know why? The audience is left wondering, Will he get a job? How do you explain the appearance of someone put to death all at once back in the world? How to explain what happened to others? I know in a lot of movies we are to leave plausibility at home, but I think the makers of this movie could have given us something a tad different that would have been believable, or at least left us hanging and wondering. It was just a bad ending to what could have been a fairly decent movie.
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6/10
Great as a concept, delivery falls flat
evmill15 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The concept behind this is great: an executed convict that is somehow alive, an eerie town, a weird angel figure and a dog that keeps digging some place. Unfortunately, it all goes wrong.

I'll start with the ending. Forget the cheese, I just love the range of emotions of the wife. "Oh, sure honey you've decided to do something stupid and criminal again, leaving me to raise our kid alone, but I'm not mad at you. Nor am I particularly shocked to see you turning up at my door." Oh well, she is blonde...

Which swiftly takes us to the organization responsible for all this mess. Sure, they're running a place full of folk who got done for murder one... But fences? OK, forget the fences, how about a password for the old PC? I mean it's only secret files you're holding there, c'mon.

There's more, but I think I'm just bound to throw up if I go on, so I'll just add that around the middle you do get the feeling that the explanation is going to be somehow mundane, and boy you're not in for a surprise.

6, on the account of the concept.
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3/10
Bad story... full of holes..
freedompriest21 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
1. Why do they want to rehabilitate him? no real intent was given. They seem to go through a lot of trouble for this. 2. He's still on death row... right? How can this ending be? He's coming back home as if nothing's happened....

But the worst of all, is that this movie tries to teach empathy for a criminal. He lost his job, and within a day he decides to go on a robbery? He's responsible for people dying. Don't give me this "He didn't pull the trigger". Did he make sure how many guards were there? how are they armed? His brother died - wheres the guilt for that? This is not a positive person and I see no reason to 'root' for him.
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8/10
Solid acting not expected from this title but there it was...
J-Roo8 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this movie just to kill some time. I thought whatever, nothing else to do. I should have saved this for something to watch if I had company over or whatever.

A good thriller about a man who has done some things in life that lead to a death penalty. He wakes with a new life in a new town and things are not quite what they seem, or are they? He is told he has been given a second chance by God, but did he really die?

Solid acting from all the actors in my opinion and the movie was delivered in a way that somewhat kept you wondering if all his thinking and actions were in fact fantasy or reality. This movie was a welcome surprise.
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7/10
Interesting, somewhat intriguing film
Jay Harris6 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This really is a 'b-movie', The plot is in fact somewhat like the b-movies of yesteryear. One major difference is the running time. 50-70 years back this would have been on a double bill with a 70-75 minute running time, THE LAZURUS PROJECT runs 100 minutes.

The script by John Glenn (he wrote Eagle Eye) is somewhat confusing, we just do not know which scenes are real & which are imagination. This was also John Glenn's first directorial effort, Its OK for a first effort.

The star is Paul Walker, he too does well,he has a limited acting range & this role suits him. The rest of the cast has many familiar faces & they do OK as well..

I must signal out one actor Malcolm Goodwin as Bobby. his portrayal of a disturbed young man is very good, I would have liked to see more of him.

This movie had no theatrical run, it was released direct to DVD. This is very prevalent nowadays to release films direct to DVD. if the box-office potential is nil.

It was made in Manitoba Canada (subbing for Oregon) it is a well made film, not great but a serviceable DVD rental.

Ratings: **1/2 (out of 4) 79 points (out of 100)* IMDb 7 (out of 10_

* Just misses a *** rating
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3/10
Absolute trash, unpardonable waste of time....
abhitdkr91 June 2014
This is one hell of a lousy movie.Some guy mentioned how you could call the pacing slow.Well, for a thriller to be called that, you have to keep the pacing brisk.This film just drags on and on with the same monotonous music score playing in the background.There are some surprises and and moments of suspense but they are dulled by the incredibly dragging pace which deprives them of the trill element.You know the word rambling?? Well, that's a fit description of what this movie really is.To call this movie a gem is ludicrous.Perhaps the Western public are fed up with the extremely fast pace of their own lives and seem to welcome some slowness albeit in movies and think that this is a very commendable proposition.....!
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3/10
Slow paced and not great.
Joe17 October 2008
I found this movie quite slow paced. Considering who the main actor is (who played an excellent role in The fast & Furious), I expected a lot more from this film.

It starts out poor and in the end leaves you thinking, why did I bother watching it. It is a little pointless making a film pretty much just for the sake of it. If you like slow films with a poor storyline, I guess you might enjoy it.

In fairness, in some parts I found it interesting and maybe slightly intriguing but on the whole, I could not possibly recommend this film to anyone. It's OK at best, but in reality, it unfortunately really isn't worth watching.
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7/10
A little half baked, but not bad.
Lawrence Griffin26 August 2009
Decent low budget thriller that somewhat resembles Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, of which a movie is also being made soon. Frankly, I'd rather watch that, but this is alright. There's nothing really gripping here, but the movie keeps your interest all the way through - albeit at times at the false assumption that it's building up to something truly horrifying, which it never does. But it's still quite interesting and you can tell they were really trying to make a good movie. They almost succeeded, if not for the truly wretched dialogue between the main character and this lady he meets. Good god, have these people EVER talked to a girl in their lives? In fact, all of the dialogue is pretty damn mediocre; you can tell the same person wrote it all because every character speaks the same way!

Oh well, aside from that, this movie is alright.
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8/10
Great Movie
tanja0818 November 2008
The film was great,during the whole time it keeps you on,it keeps your attention and the acting was amazing because the cast is awesome...Really,great job Paul and Piper and the rest of the crew.If you want some really decent movie to get you going and feeling great after,its this one,don't miss it.The story was pretty good and I recommend it for all kinds of movie lovers.Everyone will enjoy it.Great job everybody.Hm...What else...I don't know it's just really cool movie to watch if you're tiered of watching comedies all the time,this one can relax you too.So don't think too much,just relax and enjoy,get some friends over and turn off the lights... :) Peace!!!
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