Dir. Renny Harlin. 2005. R. 106mins. Clifton Collins Jr., Val Kilmer, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, Christian Slater.
Recent big-budget flops like Suspect Zero and Taking Lives indicate those well-traveled vistas "inside the mind of a serial killer" are beginning to lose their luster as America's favorite fun-time destination. If so, this dreck from the auteur who gave us The Adventures of Ford Fairlane can only accelerate the trend.
Inspired (if that's the word) by the Agatha Christie chestnut Ten Little Indians, the plot strands a bunch of FBI profiler wanna-bes on a remote island training base belonging to the U.S. Navy. The trainees are supposed to be there for an exercise orchestrated by the agency's imperious master shrink (Kilmer). But instead of the simulated crime they expect, the poor dears start getting bumped off for real, often via impossibly baroque Rube Goldberg–style deathtraps. Plainly, one of them is a crazed, supercreative killer—can the others cram inside his or her mind in time to save their asses?
There's nothing wrong with body-count entertainments per se, but this one is like watching paint refuse to dry. The dialogue is beyond atrocious, and the very notion of "psychological profiling" becomes problematic when each character is afforded a single mental trait (e.g., "craves a cigarette," "chokes under pressure," etc.). And, of course, it doesn't matter who the killer is—you could easily reconfigure the schematic to make it any other character, without gain or loss.—Cliff Doerksen