THE only solace thrill-starved audiences could take from Afonso Poyart’s formulaic hunt for a diabolical serial killer is a sub-two hour running time and some restrained scenery chewing from Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Unusually, the Oscar-winning Welsh actor who sent chills down the spine as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs, helps the FBI with their inquiries here rather than leading the police on a merry, blood-spattered dance.
Instead, Colin Farrell sinks his teeth into the film’s two-dimensional antagonist, whose wonky moral compass provides a perfect excuse to slay victims every time the pacing begins to drag.
Scriptwriters Sean Bailey and Ted Griffin steep the mind games in supernatural hokum, blessing men on both sides of the police investigation with psychic abilities, resulting in disorienting images of future events. But audiences won’t need to possess powers of clairvoyance to second guess the twists.
Poyart flags up each kink in the narrative so brazenly the sole genuine surprise is how long it takes the authorities to catch up with our logical reasoning and their perpetrator.
John Clancy (Hopkins) is a retired medic and civilian analyst, who has become a recluse since the death of his daughter Emma (Dial).
Now separated from his ex-wife Katherine (Turner), he has turned his back on his powers of precognition.
Out of the blue, former FBI colleague Joe Merriwether (Morgan) and his partner Katherine Cowles (Cornish) approach Clancy to help them hunt a serial killer, who is targeting seemingly random men, women and children. She is dumbfounded when Clancy deduces the link between the victims and helps them to edge closer to the perpetrator, Charles Ambrose (Farrell).
Complicating matters, Ambrose also has psychic abilities, which far outstrip Clancy, resulting in a tense game of cat and mouse.
Once the method behind the killer’s madness is revealed, it’s evident where the film is going and Poyart heads there with the minimum of fuss and few pulse-quickening set pieces.