Not sure how this film did at the box office during Theatrical Release - probably well, as it delivers a lot of grisly violence, loud music, brink of death moments, and pounding suspense. Reduced to the TV screen size on DVD, MINDHUNTERS becomes a psychological thriller with a strong cast but with a screenplay/plot that in attempting to be an intellectual maze has problems with credible continuity.
The premise of the story is strong: every human wants to believe he/she is intelligent and governed by free will when in fact we act according to ingrained and predictable personality traits.
Resident instructor Jake Harris (Val Kilmer in one of his briefest roles in film) takes a group of FBI Profiler trainees to a remote island for their ultimate test, gives the some parameters as to how to profile a serial killer, then leaves them to their own devices. Each of the characters has an Achilles' heel and one by one each of the profilers is killed according to an enigmatic plan based on timed intervals. It is up to the group to work against time to discover the identity of the mastermind killer. Each of the deaths of these astute profilers grows more ghastly until the final confrontation of the remaining ones who escape the serial killer's plan.
Among the group of neo-profilers are such fine actors as Christian Slater, LL Cool J (who makes a truly impressive screen presence), Jonny Lee Miller, Clifton Collins, Jr (craftily confined to a wheelchair), Eion Bailey, Will Kemp, Kathryn Morris, and Patricia Velasquez. They make the most of the scripted outlines of characters and before each one falls prey like a domino trick to the schemer, we understand their Achilles' heels - and that is praiseworthy in this screenplay.
Cameron Crowe recently wrote about movie music, whether it adds or detracts from the film. This score by Tuomas Kantelinen falls solidly into the latter category: the music together with the sound effects of the ongoing murders drowns dialogue and patience! But if thrillers frosted with gore is your bag, this film is sure to please. Grady Harp, October 05
This is a nice little thriller to watch wrapped up in a blanket on a cold Sunday afternoon with some good food and good company. Honestly, I first heard about this movie a long time ago, I read about it's potential release to DVD and then I saw a trailer of it in a movie theater which only confused me more, so I am glad I finally got to see it. The premise is about a group of eight FBI profilers who have a special assignment on an isolated island; they … more
I usually don't write DVD reviews, just because movies are such a personal preference. Somebody's one star is someone else's four star, and no review will change that. Still, I just watched this movie for the first time, and I found it to be so incredibly contrived, formulaic, and overly complex that I just couldn't shake the idea that I was watching an exercise on film. The traps are so complex and delicate, that if someone sneezed at the wrong time they would fail. And yet they all work exactly … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Creepy, tense, and enigmatic, Renny Harlin'sMindhuntersis a grisly cross between Agatha Christie's whodunit classicAnd Then There Were Noneand Jonathan Demme's horrifyingThe Silence of the Lambs. An interesting ensemble cast, including Christian Slater (Windtalkers), Jonny Lee Miller (Melinda and Melinda), L.L. Cool J (Harlin'sDeep Blue Sea), and Kathryn Morris (television'sCold Case) portray promising FBI profilers-in-training. Val Kilmer plays their ambiguous instructor putting the candidates through their paces and leaving them for a weekend on a spooky island, where those who survive a terrifying exercise--penetrating the mind of a serial killer via elaborate clues--will go to the head of the class. The rules change, however, when the students themselves turn out to be victims, bumped off one after another, the survivors half-mad with suspicion and paranoia that the murderer is one of their own. The film's concept is sound even if the execution (so to speak) gets out of hand with problems of logic. Among other things, none of these characters could possibly find time to pull off some of the psychopath's more complicated killing rituals. Quibbles aside, however,Mindhuntersis particularly watchable if one is in the mood for a movie that plays mind games.--Tom Keogh