Who's in It:
Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Clea DuVall
The Basics: A serial killer, copycatting a murderer from five years earlier, is taking out victims in an elaborate, art-installation-y way (see: Se7en). Detective Dafoe is brooding, depressed, OCD-afflicted, heavy-drinking and on the case (see: every movie about a cop since the 1970s, including Se7en). A grim, gray police procedural ensues (see: Zodiac; in fact, just see any David Fincher movie instead).
What's the Deal? For a movie about a copycat killer to be this much of a copycat product itself is so weird that you have to wonder if it was the intention of the filmmakers, as if somehow they maybe made it this way just to confound people who've already seen the films it lifts stuff from. Maybe since the film is about killing as art, then the movie itself is some kind of conceptual art piece, too. But probably not, especially since (no spoilers, promise) the resolution is not even really connected to its art-speak script.
Best Thing About It: Not only does the movie's mood come straight out of the downer-heyday of the '70s, but Dafoe's hair looks like it was time-teleported straight in from then, too. It's an excellently immobile piece of scalp furniture.
Other Best Thing: The crime scenes are constructed in a gruesome and meticulous way and are the most interesting and sort of hilarious, if your sense of humor is all wrong stuff to look at here. And it's made even crazier by Dafoe's character's obsession with the killer's "aesthetic."
Die-Hard Debbie Harry Fans, Take Note: She shows up here as a not so nice neighbor.