Full of Unusual Suspects
The spirit of Agatha Christie hovers over Mindhunters, a suspenseful mystery with plenty of suspects to keep viewers guessing about the identity of a serial killer. As in Christie’s classic And Then There Were None, a group of people have been called together and targeted for murder -- but this time instead of guests at a British dinner party, the victims are wannabe FBI profilers who think they’re participating in a simulated training experience on an isolated island.
Each member of this group boasts a particular specialty, which should come in handy in solving the “simulated crime,” but everyone also has an individual weakness, and the killer uses both in planning some very gruesome murder strategies. When it becomes clear that one member of the group must be the culprit, all of these frightened characters can’t help being suspicious of each other.
Who could be the real killer? Solving that mystery is the fun of watching movies like this. Thinking I’d figured everything out early on, imagine my surprise when my “prime suspect” bit the dust. Then I picked another one -- who also met a bloody fate -- and so on until there were only two people left. Even then, I fingered the wrong person as the guilty party. Guess that proves I’d make a lousy FBI profiler. Not to worry. Surprises in movies thrill me to the bone. I really hate it when I can predict what’s going to happen, especially in a mystery film.
Director Renny Harlin (Exorcist: The Beginning) moves Mindhunters along with periods of quiet reflection added to soften its generally heart-pounding pace, and the ensemble cast delivers above-average performances for him. Kathryn Morris, minus her TV Cold Case messy hairdo, projects an intriguing screen presence as a very intelligent woman who’s sometimes prone to panic. She’s the one who holds this movie together and makes it almost believable. British actor Jonny Lee Miller, who played the charmingly weird “Sick Boy” in Trainspotting, adopts a soothing Southern drawl -- a nice change for him. Portraying an authoritative member of the team, Christian Slater redeems himself a bit for his lackluster work in Alone in the Dark. LL Cool J (S.W.A.T.) looks amazing and simply oozes Attitude in the role of an “observer” called in to evaluate the unusual training experience as well as the man who set it up, played ably by Val Kilmer (Wonderland). Eion Bailey (Almost Famous), Clifton Collins Jr. (The Last Castle) and Will Kemp (Van Helsing) offer strong support as the remaining suspects and/or victims.
If you love mysteries, Mindhunters should work for you. It presents a suspenseful puzzle wrapped in an entertaining package, and even if you're not able to solve the mystery and identify the killer, you'll probably enjoy the challenge.
DVD bonus items include: feature commentary by director Renny Harlin; Profiling Mindhunters, a behind-the-scenes featurette; a stunt sequence featurette; and a director’s tour through the location of the film’s main island setting. Although short and rather disappointing, these bonus features prove the importance of cinematography to the final high quality of this production.
(Released by Dimension Home Video and rated “R” for violence/strong graphic images, language and sexual content. Bonus materials are unrated.)