|Brad Mirman (screenplay, story) and Christopher Lambert (story)
|Christopher Lambert, Leland Orser, Robert Joy, Barbara Tyson, Peter MacNeill, David Cronenberg and Rick Fox
“He’s smart. He´s talking to us without using his voice” – Prudhomme
Detectives Prudhomme (Lambert) and Hollinsworth (Orser) are assigned an especially brutal murder case where the victim is missing an arm and a message that says “He’s coming” is scribbled in blood on a window at the scene. More murders follow where the victims are missing either a head, a leg etc. and Prudhomme deducts that the killer is gathering pieces to resurrect the body of Christ.
“Resurrection” is a stylish thriller that practically never stood a chance, as it seems, with either critics or the general public as it was pigeonholed as a copycat of David Fincher’s “Se7en” (1995) which was a massive and influential hit. It played in theatres in some European countries (where I saw it) but was relegated to Video in most other territories where it slowly faded into obscurity. That’s a shame since it really is a worthwhile flick in most respects.
It’s true that the film isn’t terribly original, and it features one of those near mythical serial killers that constantly leave clues and seem to be inhumanly intelligent as to leave no traces and letting the authorities only find out what they want etc. and that’s certainly a little to it’s detriment. But the film plays well with it’s material, plays it straight and has enough suspenseful and gory set pieces that make sure it’s audience gets what it desires.
Script wise it has a decent set-up that gives it’s baddie a clear target and a good enough reason to want his voice heard. Prudhomme’s deductions are reasonably authentic and make for a compelling connect-the-dots early on as for the killer’s motives. The links to religion, apostles and scriptures are fairly far-fetched but it’s a stable in this sub-genre of serial killer movies and is handled here pretty well. They certainly invite some gruesome imagery and the film most definitely supplies that in spades and it’s overall atmosphere is decidedly bleak.
The visual aspect, while certainly owing more than a bit to “Se7en”’ in the case of rain drenched exteriors and gloomy interiors, is well pulled off thanks to director Mulcahy’s knack for stylish compositions (which are expertly on display on many occasions in “Highlander” – 1986) and it certainly enhances the somber mood of the film. What dates “Resurrection” a bit, unfortunately, is how TV shows like “CSI”, “Criminal Minds” and the likes managed to copy this style well and have been applying the same visual motif ad nauseum for nearly two decades since; especially the flashy distorted editing.
Lambert’s character Prudhomme is, in many ways, given the clichéd treatment in that he’s not big on social skills, a loner at heart and has, also rather clichéd, a partner (the only one who’ll work with him) who’s prone to wisecracks and lame jokes. But thankfully Prudhomme is given a backstory that fleshes him out a bit and Lambert is up to the task. While never a great thespian, Lambert nevertheless is very likeable and has a commanding presence and gives what amounts to be one of his most effective performance range-wise here. Orser is also very good and elevates the typical partner to a (at least) two dimensional character. Lambert’s and Orser’s chemistry together manages to give weight to what is essentially a very clichéd partnership. Tyson does well as Prudhomme’s wife and Joy is effective as an FBI agent. Lastly, of course, it’s great to see legendary director Cronenberg even if it’s just a small supporting role.
I’ve watched “Resurrection” a few times now and I like it better with each viewing despite it being totally artificial and manipulating in it’s depiction of serial killers. I much prefer the Michael Myers’s, Jason Voorhees’s or Freddy Krueger’s who exist in their own over the top reality (which may have some real things to say about some things, don’t get me wrong). Or the more down to earth killers with a simple motive in slashers like “Prom Night” (who are a bit clumsy and not necessarily geniuses when it comes to the execution). Or the simpletons who are clearly unstable and proceed with their deeds without realizing the harm they do; such as in the masterpiece “Deranged” where Roberts Blossom plays a version of real life serial killer Ed Gein.
“Resurrection” fits comfortably in the mold of “Se7en” with it’s look, mood and gruesomeness and can easily sit next to it and be judged favorably. The story is quite well conceived with a thrilling mystery that has a good plot and it resolves itself well enough. The characters appear to be very stereotypical from the start but do shed some layers and decent performers realize them well. Mulcahy’s directorial style suits the material well and the look of the film gives it a stylish appearance that’s visually pleasing. There’s no reason why “Resurrection” should be overlooked in this subgenre of flicks where the killers are abnormally intelligent and have reason for their doings that’s more akin to a calling from somewhere up above…or down below.