If good movies leave the viewer asking questions, then so far this film is on track. "Who funds this stuff? and "Why did Cusack take this part?" are the questions driving my review.
Fine acting and credible directing, but the formula-driven story line keeps this vehicle moving at a crawl, then the "twist" at the end broadsides us and totals it completely. I might could salvage a few parts if I had a cheesy slasher film masquerading as a detective thriller sitting in my garage, but I don't. So we won't talk about Cusack and Carpenter and Dallas Roberts, who can all use parts from this wreck on their reel. The plot is sick and debauched in a "my directing debut" way. But it's not anyone's debut. Morgan O'Neill, the Aussie director, had a hand in writing it- so let's blame him. My teen ager came in halfway during the movie and I sent him out of the room to go kill people on his video screen. It's that kind of sick. The final plot twist was laid out with the skill of a toddler twisting the handle on a jack-in-the-box. Or a 17-year old delivering a baby by cesarian section, if you believe O'Neill's dramatic sensibilities.
I realized a third of the way through the movie that I didn't care about any of these people, but I wanted to keep watching just to see the bad guy get his due, cause he's convincingly bad. Then I wanted to find out what actual events inspired this movie. I should have quit after the first third. Implausible, misleading, and ultimately unsatisfying on all fronts.
I did find a news story on murdered prostitutes in Buffalo, so that's the toehold this movie uses to build a "based on actual events" tagline. But murdered prostitutes is all this movie has in common with actuality. A more honest tagline would be "The 108-minute Killer", because that really DID happen and I lived it.