Director – Mauro Borrelli (The Ghostmaker, The Recall)
Starring – Martin Lawrence (House Party, Blue Streak), Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond, Supernatural), and John Malkovich (Con Air, Shadow of the Vampire)
Release Date – 2022
Rating – 2/5
Over the last few years there has been a huge influx of serial killer documentaries, dramas, shows, and films appear on various streaming giants and television which has helped create the meme that white people are obsessed with them. As funny as these memes are, they are still true. I love films and television shows about serial killers, but I do prefer the ones about the real ones, but some fictional films have impressed me over the years. Most genre fans love films like Se7en and Zodiac and I’m one of them.
These two gritty crime thrillers are fucking classics and I wait patiently for the next film to join their ranks. A few weeks ago, I received the press release for the crime thriller Mindcage starring John Malkovich and Martin Lawrence. This unusual pairing really caught my attention. We know Malkovich can tackle the role of a serial killer but Martin Lawrence in a thriller really peaked my interested. I was quick to request a copy and soon had one to check out. I couldn’t wait to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film takes place several years after a serial killer known as The Artist was apprehended after killing several people and leaving them in different poses as pieces of his macabre art. With the real killer behind bars, a copy cat killer has appeared using the same method of preserving the body and displaying them as The Artist. The police reluctantly speak with the original killer who is lock away and he helps them get inside the new killer’s head. His hint begin to be too on the nose and they suspect something else is going on until they learn something more supernatural is at play here with the original Artist killer behind it all. **Spoiler Alert**
Mindcage had me sold on the film until we reached the last leg then I found myself rolling my eyes in frustration. The film would have been the perfect pairing with the gritty and grounded crime thrillers Se7en and Zodiac. However, they threw everything it help to build in the first three quarters of the film out the window within minutes of the film’s conclusion. It felt cheap, rushed, and did not pair well with the rest of the film. After rating the movie on Letterbox’d I can quickly see I was not the only one who felt that way.
The acting in this one is great. Malkovich is absolutely fantastic as The Artist who is toying with the police. His performance is so much fun and the character he gives viewers is one of the highlights of the film. With that being said, I wasn’t feeling Martin Lawrence and Melissa Roxburgh. They both deliver decent enough performances, but their characters are painfully generic and forgettable. Honestly, I wish someone with a little intensity was cast in one of these roles to carry the film a little further than it was.
The story for this one is the biggest dropped ball in cinema history. The movie starts out so fucking good. It’s not predictable and pulls you in with each passing scene. However, the film really fucks itself when it comes to the ending and the killer’s reveal. Instead of working in something clever and imaginative, we get a supernatural angle that doesn’t fit in the film at all. The movie has been grounded and realistic throughout most of it’s run time but they toss all that out the window with this shitty and unclever ending.
Finally, the film has some beautiful make-up effects and props but if you are looking for a beautiful morbid and bloody film then you will be very disappointed. The kills do not take place on camera and all we see if the “bodies” as they are made up and placed into position. Also, these bodies are not as gruesome and shocking as you would expect especially if you are a regular fan of horror. Overall, Mindcage had a phenomenal start but the ending completely ruins the experience. It tries to be something it’s not which takes so much away from the film. I wanted to love it but that last leg of the film just left a bad taste in my mouth. Skip it.