The first 20 or so minutes was promising and I was gripped by what might unfold...then it fell apart with too many illogical and unrealistic actions by (supposedly normal) people to 'force' the plot, which doesn't make for good story telling.
Too many times, the question of 'why is he/she doing that?' pulls me out of the movie sequence and after an hour, I was forced to be a critic instead of being absorbed by the story. To the movie's credit, it kept giving me hope that things will be explained later, but sadly, more illogical actions by the main characters dashed my hopes, and by the mid-point, my mind went to 'whatever' mode and stopped caring about the story.
Very sloppy police work - 10 hours of interrogation of a mentally-challenged suspect, without once bringing in an expert to try to coax some truth out; In fact, all interrogations are a waste of time (All three suspects) and the police seem to be okay with learning nothing; a detective who is a loner and 'rambo' all crime scenes by himself, and never once discusses the case with anyone else; When following a suspect, he allows a truck to keep honking him instead of moving out of the way to stay undiscovered? Must be a new surveillance method; a captain who acts like a security guard on a fairly high-profile case, never once directing his people on the investigation nor ever seemed to be interested in the case; Cuff a suspect but leaves him right beside the main door while going deeper into the house searching various rooms? In real life, the suspect would try to make a break for it, surely!; Shoot a suspect, and being shot in the process, but wait, a child is hurt, so let's not even check if the suspect is dead or call it in, just drive to a hospital with blood obscuring his view. Great, a car chase wouldn't make sense for the plot, so let's add this to pump up the adrenaline. Stupid!; stop digging because the ground is frozen, really? Urgency is not valued in police work. Anyone who has seen even one episode of CSI will shake head at how poor the investigators are at treating the case and evidence. The search scene shows a rather large police force, yet on a case with multiple suspects and leads, 'lone ranger' goes it alone. Conveniently, all the clues are on the internet because the police couldn't link various cases of missing children to find some common treads in a (supposedly - due to the 'redneck' style police work) small community; DNA tracing and finger printing must be too new to this police department so that the plot can keep going without the disruption from truth or logic. The main suspect's parents 'died in a car accident'? Let's not check his background and his parents' names.
Very strange crisis-management/grieving process - one mother resigns to sadness and spends her time in bed medicated; another mother sits at home staring at old photos. Hang on, the children are not known to be dead yet, shouldn't they try to do something? No, it's easier to grief instead of looking. Why is Dover doing all the running around? And, four parents, each seem to do their own thing, unknown to their respective partners, are allowed to carry on. No one wants to 'band' together to discuss how to find their missing children, they just want to rage in their own way. A new family structure? Terrible villains - The priest who knows a dead man is in his basement, but keeps it to himself. Maybe he didn't kill the guy, but a priest is not bound by silence when known crimes are committed (kidnapping and killing children cannot be said to require the vow of silence, surely)...perhaps, he wanted in on the action? But then why let the guy die and then keep the body?; Dover becomes a kidnapper and torturer, in the hope of learning the truth, but he never gives his captive a chance to speak...every time the captive says something, instead of coaxing more out of him, he goes on a yelling rage of 'tell me'...mate, shut the f**K up and listen, maybe he is trying to tell you something. Then he cleverly constructs a box so that he cannot hear what his captive says...this means he only wants to torture the guy and not extract information as the main objective of the exercise; The old auntie seem to be an experienced abductor and child killer, yet wouldn't shoot a man threatening to reveal her true identity...why toy with him when children are her real targets? He is just an obstacle to her pursuits, so shoot him in the head already and throw him into the hole and be done with it...but noooo, we need the last whistle scene to close out the story. She can bound and gag the children when Dover comes to visit, but would lead the detective to the child (With open door no less) instead of getting rid of him before killing the child; and if her real objective is to rage against god by killing children, why keep the children alive for 6 days? Are there 'auspicious' days to kill children that we weren't told in the story? All in all, the movie has enough to keep audiences watching, but their minds must be switched off to accept the story development. Based on the plot alone, there is no reason to watch after the first half an hour. Acting is brilliant when compared to the script and maybe that is the ticket; have a terrible script so that the actors can make use of their talents to keep the audience watching. When I say brilliant, I do not mean good, I just mean it is much better than the script. What a waste of talent on this 'didn't-think-it-through' crime caper.
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