A beautiful psychotherapist travels inside a comatose serial killer’s mind via some sci-fi contraption called a neurological synoptic transfer system, in the hope of saving his latest kidnap victim. But being in the mind of a madman is not a safe place to be. Her nightmarish journey brings her face to face with the killer and she may become his next victim.
To a reviewer’s consternation, there are some readers who, out of a prurient interest, will see the very movie the reporter has just ripped apart for its graphic vileness. The negative review seems to entice them. “Could it really be that bad?” they wonder. I wish that I could dissuade those people from putting these obscene images into their minds. ‘Cause once they’re in there, they’re real hard to get rid of. All I can do is speak to those who, when they hear that a film contains scenes such as the depiction of human entrails being pulled from a living being, will decide on another film for Saturday night viewing. I must confess, I walked out on this film. As a reviewer, I do that very rarely. I owe it to you and the filmmaker to examine the entire film to see if there is some justification for what the movie has put us through. But a point comes when you realize that the lurid content will override any message the last half hour may provide. Like “Silence of the Lambs” (one of the few other films I walked out on), this is an extremely disturbing and repulsively graphic movie, replete with grisly tortures, murders, and deviant sexual imagery that, in my opinion, deserves an NC-17 rating. How the MPAA excused this film from that category beats me. This is not to say that the film has no style. Again, like “Silence of the Lambs,” it is well crafted. Roger Ebert and his new sidekick even called the film “One of the year’s best movies.” But they failed to mention scenes like the villain taking scissors and cutting a man’s stomach open, pulling the intestines out, tying them to a bar above the victim’s tied-down body, then spinning the bar, pulling out more of the intestines. What could possibly make this worthy entertainment after a scene like that? (Forgive the gross details, but if that description keeps you from seeing this film, I believe I’ve done you a healthy service.) The women-in-peril plotline has always been a staple of the movies, but this film crosses the line of suspense and enters the realm of deviance. We are watching people suffering. Yes, it is make believe, but isn’t the stark imagery of an actress on screen begging for her life as unnerving as any calamity we see on the nightly news? The Psalms writer says, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” In my opinion, the first 70-some minutes of this movie are vile. I couldn’t answer for the rest.