Mindhunters sat on the shelf for a few years gathering dust. Last January, it looked like it was going to open. All of trailers and advertising said so, but Friday came along and there was no hint at its fate. Now, nearly six months later, Mindhunters, the latest riff on the classic Ten Little Indians, arrives in theaters. The concept is simple - there is a murderer within a group of people, picking off individuals one by one. Nobody knows who the killer is, and with each additional death, people get increasingly paranoid. In the case of Mindhunters, it's pretty pointless to try and guess the real killer, since the motivations that this person had are not the most believable. Instead, the best thing to do is to simply sit back and let the film take the viewer for a ride. Keep in mind that Renny Harlin (Exorcist: The Beginning, Driven) is directing, and he's not the greatest person when it comes to restraint.
Harlin and screenwriters Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Crossing Over) and Kevin Brodbin (Constantine, The Glimmer Man) throw together a bunch of green FBI profilers. Their leader, Jake Harris (Val Kilmer, Alexander, Stateside) has a reputation for being a hard ass. He takes them to an island off the East Coast where they will be on a weekend training exercise. They will go to bed, and the next morning, receive clues to a murder. They need to profile the murder and catch the killer before he/she strikes again. The team consists of alpha male Lucas Harper (Jonny Lee Miller, Melinda and Melinda, Dracula 2000), the apprehensive Sara Moore (Kathryn Morris, Paycheck, Minority Report), JD Reston (Christian Slater, Alone in the Dark, Masked and Anonymous), wheelchair bound, gun-luvin' Vince Sherman (I Witness, Rules of Attraction), the sexy Nicole Willis (Patricia Velasquez, The Mummy Returns, Turn It Up), and Brit Rafe Perry (Will Kemp, Van Helsing), and Bobby Whitman (Eion Bailey, Almost Famous, Center Stage). Joining these profilers is Detective Gabe Jensen (LL Cool J, S.W.A.T., Deliver Us From Eva), who is there to observe. The acting is serviceable, but nothing spectacular in either direction.
As expected things go horribly wrong. At the scene of the fictional murder, one of their own dies. They soon realize they have no way off the island, and no way of communicating to call for help. Somebody is setting up elaborate traps that result in particularly grisly deaths. Worse, the killer taunts the profilers by given them a clock announcing when the next person will die. Suspicion falls first on Jensen, the only person they do not know. But Harlin is toying with the audience, and keeps throwing red herrings that point at everybody. Everybody has some quirk about them that makes them a likely candidate for the killer. This is supposed to ratchet up the suspense and keep the audience guessing as to the actual culprit.
The kicker is that it is all for naught. The hardest thing about a film like this is that the ending needs to live up to the setup. It does not. The killer is revealed, and it kind of makes sense. The problem is twofold. First, his/her motivation seems a bit stupid. Was it really worth all the trouble? Second, this person went to a ridiculous amount of effort to set up all of the traps. It all makes for a movie that can get tense at times (ooh, a serial killer profiling the profilers!), but in the end, it's all pretty pointless. Because of this, Harlin undermines everything he set up. The intention was to make a smart film, where profilers need to outthink themselves. Instead, Harlin goes for broke with lots of yelling, tension, Mexican standoffs, and gore. Overall, Mindhunters just seems lazy, and it's best not to think too hard about the plot, lest annoyance occur.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 46 minutes, Rated R for violence/strong graphic images, language, and sexual content.|
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