Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A ruthless serial killer is captured and put on trial. The liberal prosecutor is given a tough assignment: to get the jury to go for the death penalty.

My final William Friedkin film for YVIAHMMAOIHTNQ, Rampage is a little less of a horror movie than The Guardian was, instead it's sort of a legal thriller with some horror movie elements. What it does have that The Guardian lacked is that spooky Friedkin brand of ambiguity. The film is actually an interesting and sometimes provocative probing of an interesting idea, which is how do we legally define insanity, and how much can an insane person be held accountable for their actions? For clearly this man is nuts; no sane person would commit these crimes. And yet, he shows forethought, planning, a sense that he knows what he did was wrong...

I thought for a while that this movie might be taking a more conservative stance on this issue, but in classic Friedkin fashion, you're actually less sure about how to feel about everything by the end. The killer remains not only mysterious but unknowable. He is left both unexplained and, unlike so many other serial killers in film, unglamorized. Is he remorseless, or simply un-self-aware? He expresses a desire to change, but is he for real, or is it an act? Rampage reminded me a little of The Ugly, another serial killer film I watched this month. But where that film sought to explore and explain, Rampage is all the more chilling and effective because it refuses to explain, and rather takes a hard look at the uncomprehandle nature of the mind of a killer.

Grade: B

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