A seemingly immortal killer strikes every nine years with signature markings on the neck.
In 1988, Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Lockhart (Boyd Holbrook) and his partner Maddox (Bokeem Woodbine) are investigating a series of deaths. The victims appear to have died of blood loss and are found with strange holes on their necks. Lockhart’s brother-in-law Detective Holt (Michael C. Hall) leads the investigation. As Lockhart confronts the suspected killer (Cleopatra Coleman), she reveals that she knows Lockhart before seemingly dying. Nine years later, Lockhart finds out that a similar killing spree begins and that the suspect still appears to be the same woman. Only time will reveal the truth.
This movie surprised me on a lot of levels. Admittedly, the reveal of what is happening becomes clear pretty early on, but having a movie where the mystery actually spans decades is pretty great and I can say that you probably won’t guess the full extent until at least halfway through. The ultimate reveal of why the events of the movie happen is fulfilling, even if it ultimately might leave you with a bit of contemplation about the real world and morality.
The film hangs on Holbrook’s performance and, fortunately, he’s up to the task. As the movie goes on he goes from ambitious family man all the way to homeless nutcase and hits most of the steps in between. It says a lot that the film can jump nearly a decade at a time and still have you follow the protagonist’s journey without really having any issues. Coleman, on the other hand, pulls off a performance that requires a number of things being just ambiguous enough to keep the audience waiting at all times and does it well. The way that director Jim Mickle focuses on the appearance of the world and the characters changing in ways that quickly communicate the when and where of the jumps helps quite a bit. It also helps that the dialogue doesn’t play up the ‘80s or ‘90s too much, instead letting advances in technology do most of the talking.
The script does suffer a bit from trying to make sure that everyone is caught up at the end, because it goes through a meticulous description of what we’ve just watched and most of it should already have been known to both of the parties involved. Still, they use that opportunity to give us some more visuals that we otherwise likely wouldn’t have seen that do help drive the point of the film home more.
Overall, I really liked this movie. Give it a try.
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