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C. Thomas Howell,
In the scene where BTK kills Nancy Fox, they show a pack of Marlboro Lights cigarettes and an ashtray with a brown cigarette butt in it on the night stand. However, in the U.S. Marlboro Lights are all white cigarettes, not brown. See more »
Another made-for-TV serial killer movie "based on a true story" that tries to introduce one or two notes of originality into a cinematic pattern that is so nearly exhausted it's staggering on its pins.
One such attempt is in the musical score. Ordinarily with a story about a serial killer, we'd expect violins tremolo until they shriek madly as the hatchet descends. Not here.
As Dennis Rader, the "BTK Killer", Gregg Henry, in a completely satisfying performance, goes about his business of seeing to it that the community's lawns are properly mowed and that his victims are tortured, raped, and killed, and he's accompanied by some kind of Orff Schulwerk music filled with glockenspiels and a cute pizzicato melody. Well, why not? It worked in "Badlands." But when the rubber meets the road and there is action on the screen, Tree Adams, the composer, goes nuts and the air is filled with the loud racket of pots and pans being clanged together. It may be innovative but it's distracting too.
Robert Forster does a decent job as the detective in charge but because of lax direction or some other reason he's not as convincing as he was in "Jackie Brown." He's given a voice-over narration that's stale. Something like, "I realized we had to go through this to be a better people." Ugh. It's too bad that the narration is so full of old saws and empty observations because the plot really needs something to tie the episodes together. The killings themselves aren't a problem because they're not lingered over and are only suggested in double- and triple exposure. But the timeline is warped. There were times when I didn't know whether we were in 1974 or 2004. No kidding.
It isn't a memorable movie but Gregg Henry has the simple, innocent, friendly face of true evil down pat.
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