Written by: Chad Langen
The serial killer concept has been done, redone, and done again. The same simple formula exist within all of them. A detective or detectives are out to catch a killer who's name was given more thought than the script itself, they find clues, and eventually reveal the killer's identity. The location is usually the difference between
them, though the killer's motive could also play a part in it. So why would a film like Mindhunters be appealing to anyone? The film has sat in a studio collecting dust for a few years now and the release date couldn't have been worse. There are those brilliant psychological films, however, that only come a long in a good long while. Although Mindhunters doesn't come close to comparison with Silence of the Lambs or Seven , it still has the potential to be a creepy and hell of an entertaining psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the truth is finally uncovered.
A group of FBI trainees out to become profilers have been dispatched to an isolated island where they must use their intelligence and abilities to complete there final mission: catching the Puppeteer. What starts off as a training facility assembled by the FBI quickly turns into a deathtrap that the group prays to get out of alive. As the group is killed off one by one in a series of brutal traps they discover that since they're the only one's on the island, one of them is the killer. Suspicion quickly turns into a race for their lives in a fight to uncover the killer's identity before it's too late.
The character's traits are a key to identifying the killer. Each character has his or her own skills that could lead them in the direction of the killer or to their gruesome demises. Time is also an important element. After each death, a watch is found on or near the victim. The watch is stopped at a time that reveals when the next person will die as the character's quickly discover.
As this is a profiler film, we could of expected nothing more than a little investigation. The script is well written and in most cases technically logical. The characters almost never travel alone and when they do, the basic horror movie rules are never broken. There is one scene in which I particularly enjoyed. The group is arguing over who's the killer and who is going to die next. Everyone is in the room, yet somehow the killer manages to spike their coffee and the next minute they're all sleeping on the floor like babies. It's a well done scene and gives you the perfect chance to uncover the killer's identity right then in there, but you don't. The screenwriter bends the rules and causes you to over think. He makes you look past what lies right before your very eyes.
Director Renny Harlin uses the same direction as he did in Deep Blue Sea. The film is fast paced and gets you almost over excited until you can hardly see what happens next. Overexcitement is good. It means the script is well written and the film is well directed. Mindhunters also has some of the same dark humor that existed in Deep Blue Sea. The atmosphere is similar in that some of the scenes take place during the say, but still manage to deliver a few scares.
The only problem I had with the film was the acting. Most of the actors seemed like they didn't want any part of the film, yet would want a part in a film that is guaranteed to flop at the box office. I know I wouldn't. And the actors who are known are only seen on screen for short periods of time. LL Cool J probably had the best presence in an actor's standpoint. He tried to become the character and though it was very similar to the character he played in Deep Blue Sea , it seemed believable and you actually wanted him to live.
My advice to anyone looking to see the film is to see it open minded. Don't go thinking “I know who the killer is.” Believe me, you don't. Every time you pinpoint a suspect, the person is killed off moments later. As the group decreases in number it's even harder to narrow down the suspects because you finally begin to realize that the character will be dead soon anyway.
I would highly recommend Mindhunters to anyone who enjoys thinking. This film most definitely involves thinking. It brings back hope in that there still is originality out there within the genre only waiting to be seen.