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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Twisted

Starring: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Philip Kaufman
Rated: R
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: February 2004
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Bill Duke, Richard T. Jones, Russell Wong, D.W. Moffett, Andy Garcia, Jim Hechim, Mark Pellegrino, David Strathairn

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Sarah Thorp's script for TWISTED is a top contender for worst script of the year. This mysteryless mystery and thrillerless thriller is directed lifelessly by Philip Kaufman. The movie's stars, Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson and Andy Garcia, turn in weak performances, but, with a story this preposterous and predictable, it's almost not fair to blame them. The dialog is so cheesy and clichéd, however, that you may be inclined to laugh at them. Feel free to. You'll need something to pass the time as the movie lumbers along until the ending credits finally put it out of its misery -- and yours too.

Judd plays the central character of Jessica Shepard, who has just been promoted to Inspector. Since twenty-five years ago, her policeman father suddenly and unbelievably went on a never explained killing spree, ending with the death of his wife and himself, you can understand why Jessica has a problem with anger. For recreation she likes to frequent bars and have sex with the scummy-looking guys she picks up. Jackson play a cop named John Mills, who was once the partner of Jessica's father. John not only raised Jessica, he trained her how to be a top notch investigator.

No sooner has Jessica started in her new position than people start dying on her watch. Upon seeing the first victim, she immediately announces that it is the first killing of a serial killer. Although her fellow officers ridicule her prophesy at the time, she is proved right when more men die with the same m.o. -- a single cigarette burn on one hand.

It would appear that the title could have been BLACK WIDOW had that name not already been taken, since every murder follows the same pattern. Jessica takes one sip of her wine and blacks out. Many hours later she awakens to find that one of her ex-lovers has died somewhere with the same serial killer's cigarette signature. She also notices new scratches on her hands and face. Although she would obviously be on the top of anyone's list of suspects, she is still allowed to conduct the investigations into the crimes. The director makes sure that we see that her new partner, Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia), seems to be around whenever she meets a new guy.

The constant red herrings of the plot are so obvious and ham-handedly shown that it's clear to anyone with half a brain who the killer has to be.

Our packed preview audience was quite angry on their way out; complaining about how much this film insulted their intelligence. Show people how smart you are and skip this picture entirely. If you do go, you may find that you'll be dealing with anger issues just like Jessica.

TWISTED runs too long even at just 1:37. It is rated R for "violence, language and sexuality" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes

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