Convoluted yet engrossing thriller
z hayes | TX | 08/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Killing Gene" stars Melissa George as rookie detective Helen O'Mara who is paired with veteran Eddie Argo [Stellan Skarsgard] who is reputed to be a by-the-book cop. They find themselves on the trail of a mysterious killer who seems to target members of a local gang notorious for their acts of violence, each of whom is murdered and carved with "W Delta Z". As they dig deeper, they find that the killings are all related and Helen's in-depth investigation reveals a troubling aspect to the case that is linked to an old case, one which Det Argo would rather not revisit.
This is quite a compelling thriller that makes the viewer think and try to sort out the clues that reveal the motives behind the gruesome murders. There are scenes of torture here that are reminiscent of movies like Saw and Hostel, and disturbingly one involving a kid. The basic premise here has to do with retribution, and this theme is truly convincingly portrayed. The two leads as portrayed by Skarsgard and George are credible in their roles, especially Skarsgard, and finally, there is Selma Blair in one of the most intense roles of her career thus far. Without revealing too much of the plot, I would recommend this movie for those who like compelling thrillers with twists."
What would it take? How much pain can you stand?
Movie Dude | Alabama | 12/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Do you love the mother of your unborn child? Your son? Your grandmother? Twin brother? Lover?
Could you ever imagine killing them? How much torture and pain would it take to make you hit the switch that would kill them? You think you're a good person who would gladly sacrifice yourself for your loved ones.Would you? Or would the human sense of self preservation win out, causing you to beg your torturer to kill them in your place?
"The Killing Gene" puts this to the test a la "Saw" and "Seven". Although it's not quite on the same level as those two films,if you liked them you'll enjoy this one.Not overly heavy in blood and gore.Filmed in a gritty,realistic and sometimes brutal crime drama style that is very appealing.A team of cops try to solve a series of serial killings that end up being tied to a past case.Is the killer serving justice in committing these murders? Are the killings warranted?
Filmed in Ireland and America.Big name stars.Selma Blair(Hellboy 1&2,The Fog['05],Cruel Intentions), Stellan Skarsgard(Pirates of the Caribbean,King Arthur,Exorcist:The Beginning)and Melissa George(30 Days of Night,Turistas,Amityville Horror['05],Alias) to name a few.All are fantastic in their roles.A very engaging movie with a major twist ending."
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 08/18/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"What previews and clips I'd seen of The Killing Gene (also known as W Delta Z) made the film look like a bit more brutal variation of Seven, which seemed interesting enough. Sadly, this is far from being anywhere close to that classic thriller, or practically anything else in the genre either for that matter. The Killing Gene stars Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, Deep Blue Sea, the original Insomnia) and Melissa George (30 Days of Night, Turistas, Amityville Horror) as cops investigating a bizarre murder in which a victim had an unusual mathematical formula carved into her body. Soon enough, more bodies begin piling up, leading to some revelations and more bloody mayhem. Nearly every bit of momentum that The Killing Gene manages to build up gets squandered, as what could have been an intense, psychological drama instead gets relegated into a torture flick that borrows heavily from all the Saw's and Hostel's to come before it. That being said, most of The Killing Gene is an exercise in sadism that could have been something more, but instead is a sadly disappointing bore with an ending that will definitely make you squirm (and what happens here is something that has definitely been seen a little too much in these types of flicks as of late). Skarsgard and George are good in the leads, as are Selma Blair, Ashley Walters, and Tom Hardy in smaller roles. All in all, if the torture brand of the horror genre is your thing, you'll more than likely dig The Killing Gene, but for those of us who thought that this would be a good psychological thriller with some edge, you're better off looking elsewhere."
Judy K. Polhemus | LA | 01/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The premise of Sartre's "No Exit" is that hell is other people. The flip side plays in "The Killing Gene" directed by Tom Shankland. Hell is choosing to kill someone you love in place of yourself.
The premise begins in a research laboratory with animals. Put one wild card animal in a cage with a group of like kind: snake in with monkeys. Would one monkey sacrifice his life for the others? The research says no. The researcher said the monkeys become just genes. Then two lab assistants decide a twist of provocation on people, beginning with the third lab assistant (Selma Blair) and her mother. They savagely rape and torture her until she kills her mother to stop the hideous assault. The brief snippets of these brutal, bloody hours are not for the squeamish.
Then the serial killings begin through twists and turns of who does what to whom. It becomes a grisly story of extreme betrayal of love and trust. Or are we turned into "genes" in the savage grip of shrieking pain, and it becomes every person for him or herself.
The two newly paired detectives, veteran cop Eddie Argo, played by Stellan Skarsgard (who performs a 180 from his recent role in "Mamma Mia") and Melissa George, a terrified rookie in desperate circumstances but who has the guts to do her job and do it well. This is a detective squad taken right from the set of "Shield"--gritty, profane, probably dirty, and weary and numb from the rawness and violence of their daily lives. As Eddie tells his partner, "There are always shades of gray."
The story is truly film-noir with dark, ugly streets, littered, grafittied halls and walls, dirty, stinking settings in most scenes. So add this bizarre form of serial killing for this squad to solve. Nothing is as it seems.
Sometimes too much of a good thing is not so good. The music--very heavy and atmospheric often over powers the dialog, leaving the viewer to figure out the whispery mumblings of some of the words. However, most films that exude dark and ominous settings overdo it: this one does Dark perfectly.
The conclusion, like most of the story, is an unexpected twist and is past "edgy." Surprisingly, this is one scene played with restraint.
If you don't already know the extremes human beings will take for pain avoidance, then "The Killing Gene" will be a provocative film. But even amongst all the bleakness, there will always exist that one human who will not act according to genes."