Let the record show that, having forgotten to check my catalogue before leaving the house, and being unable to find any information on the EIFF website due to my having no idea how to produce a delta sign on my keyboard, I didn’t have much of a clue what I was in for with this movie. So, gory, disturbing horror it is then. Just the thing to have sprung on you.

A body shows up in the river, and not just anybody: the girlfriend of a powerful gangster. And she was pregnant. She died by electrocution, and the cryptic word/symbol/phrase “WAZ” is carved into her flesh. On the case are rookie cop Helen Westcott (Melissa George) and her jaded partner Eddie (Stellan Skarsgård). Realistically, Westcott is subjected to cracks by her male colleagues about whether she’s “turning tricks” and the like, which gains the movie points for realism and points for being depressing, and helps to remove even the slightest sympathy we might feel for the main characters apart from Westcott.

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From the gruesome beginning, the body count rises as gangland types start to turn up tortured and dying along with electrocuted loved-ones. The modus operandi of the killer is fairly obvious from the get-go, and the supposed reveal is handled so clumsily as to be foolish. The “science” of the killer’s motive is of course vague and poorly explained, although I was pleased to spot Paul Kaye as the scientist who attempts to do the explaining, complete with incorrect use of the phrase “the selfish gene”. A lot of talk about genes, selfishness, “love-is-a-joke” etc . ensues and thoroughly bores the pants off everyone.

As for the title, it’s “doubleyou-delta-zee” (or zed, or whatever), which is a part of the mumbo-jumbo science this movie attempts to use to patch its plot holes. It’s no secret that I have no truck with torture porn, not even when it’s trying to be subversive and table-turning. When a movie like this removes all semblances of redeeming features from the victims, you start to get the feeling that the thrill is all meant to come from watching people being tortured, and quite frankly it’s not to my taste. Even if it was, this is a particularly poorly-managed example of the genre, from predictable beginning to frankly nonsensical ending.

Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2007
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A detective caught in a battle of wits with a killer is forced to pay for his past failings.
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Richard Mellor **1/2

Director: Tom Shankland

Writer: Clive Bradley

Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Melissa George, Selma Blair, Ashley Walters, John Sharian

Year: 2007

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: UK, US

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