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Case Number 06402: Small Claims Court

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Profile Of Serial Killer

Lionsgate // 1998 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // March 16th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Gutierrez is waiting anxiously for a crime drama that penetrates the secret, adventurous lives of police HR benefits coordinators. Until then, this Aussie telepic will have to do.

The Charge

Police work is slow. Very, very slow.

The Case

In the aftermath of a spree killing at an Australian diner, forensic psychologist Dr. Jane Halifax (Rebecca Gibney, Salem's Lot) is called in to profile the murderer. She's teamed with investigating detectives Eric Ringer (Hugh Jackman, X-Men) and Helen De Castro (Susan Lyons, Black and White).

Halifax bonds with the only survivor of the diner massacre during her attempt to piece together what he saw and heard. During her investigation, she attends therapy sessions in order to help her cope with both the death of her father and a murder she caused. Halifax also must deal with the constant (albeit welcome) advances of Detective Ringer. After much investigation, profiling, and therapy, Halifax comes face to face with the killer and is forced to deal with the consequences.

First off, it bears mentioning that Profile of a Serial Killer is actually the retitled Australian telefilm Halifax, F.P.: Afraid of the Dark. Additionally, the cover art implies that Jackman is going to play a large role in the film. Be warned—while he's in it a great deal, he's sidelined rather quickly and relegated to just the love interest role.

Forensic psychologists have a fascinating job—they attempt to understand the minds and behaviors of killers, deviants, and those whose actions are beyond most human comprehension. Unlike their television and film portrayal, they aren't kicking down the doors of suspects, roughing up perps in interrogation rooms, or consulting them in quid-pro-quo discussions. Instead, they are called in once the damage is done, and try to provide homicide detectives with an idea of what kind of suspect they should be looking for. Halifax is handled more accurately than her media counterparts. At least this film got that part right.

This movie moves at the pace of an uphill snail race. It drags on and on and on and never gets to where it needs to be until it's too late. The movie will make the viewer feel like they're in the thick of it with the rest of the detectives and Halifax all the way through—not a good thing.

With the exception of Halifax, the rest of the characters are two-dimensional. Halifax's strength and brilliance gives way to her overemotional reactions. Her only good moment is her handling of Ringer after their brief tryst.

The ending comes completely out of nowhere. It could have had a wonderful punch-in-the-gut feeling, but the acting undermines the kick. It's very hard to forgive a bad ending. It's harder to forgive a bad ending in a movie that makes me like I'm experiencing a bad Nyquil trip while on Quaaludes.

To further complement the wonder that is Profile of a Serial Killer, the producers of this DVD have opted to accessorize it with such "special features" as a Full Screen picture, a 2.0 Stereo Mix, Scene Access, and Interactive Menus. If there's one thing that angers this reviewer, it's standard features on a DVD being called "special." There's nothing special going on here.

The picture and sound are adequate. I didn't find anything abhorrent or spectacular—much like this movie.

I expected better. The film falls short of my expectations and isn't anything I can properly recommend. If I ever find Lions Gate in this courtroom trying to pass off "standard" as "special" again, I'll have them put away for life.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 50

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Drama
• Foreign
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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