Whenever the viewer is teased with the ‘based on a true story’ hook, it raises curiosity and expectations. Unfortunately, taking license with these stories often leads to cinematic implosions.
Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku in a tranquilized, lame deer-in-headlights acting performance) is a cop hot on the trail of a serial killing pedophile. This person victimizes young girls with first and last names always matching in their first initials. Megan gets so into her crime fighting that she starts hearing the voices of and seeing the dead girls. They appear to her in beginning stages of decomposition. The girls seem to antagonize and plead for Megan to hurry up and solve the case.
(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)
The stress continues getting to her until she has a nervous breakdown. Her cop boyfriend, Kenneth Shine (a heavily make-up laden Cary Elwes), is given the news—Megan is diagnosed with adult-onset schizophrenia. She is treated with medication and goes into a support program. There, she meets Richard Ledge (Tim Hutton) a man confined to a wheelchair who leads the support group. It’s now two years later—her relationship with Kenneth is over and she’s been demoted. The Alphabet Killer is killing young girls. Megan begs Kenneth to let her get involved with the case again, but on a detective-light scale. Kenneth allows it and partners her up with Officer Steven Harper (Tom Malloy). They begin making connections. Megan stops taking her meds. She starts hearing the voices and seeing the apparitions again. She hides this and continues on the case. After a few false leads, they are finally getting somewhere. Until the next breakdown involving a priest and Megan flailing and shooting a gun in a church. She’s hospitalized again but in an unlikely scenario, she breaks out to keep following up on the case. We are then presented with the bizarre, improbable and confusing climactic ending, which leaves you as confused as Megan.
I liked that the movie took on mental illness in an atypical fashion and in a unique setting but what the hell? It was peculiar, the actors are stiff and their situations are extremely difficult to believe.
Director: Rob Schmidt
Run time: 97 minutes