When a serial killer leaves dead bodies in pairs, it is up to a hardened detective and his new partner to stop the killer.
W Delta Z, or as it was renamed for this DVD – The Killing Gene, seems at first glance to be a hybrid of other more successful films. It is equal parts Seven and Saw. Unlike many recent movies which only exist in order to piggyback the success of their predecessors, The Killing Gene brings something unique to the table. In much the same way as John Doe killed the victims in Seven using the template of the Seven Deadly Sins, the serial killer in The Killing Gene uses a scientific formula that discounts love from the human equation.
Eddie Argo (Skarsgard) is a rough around the ears detective who is called to a homicide, where a pregnant woman is found electrocuted. The woman’s boyfriend, a big-time criminal, is later found hanging by his neck in his home. While it is obvious he committed suicide, the question of the girlfriend’s murder hangs in the air. Twin brothers are found dead next, one of them electrocuted as well. Eddie realizes the pattern of the victims and understands the killer is someone he is very familiar with.
The first half of the movie is a little rough, as Eddie and his new female partner Helen (George) investigate the murders. The movie picks up in the second half when the whodunit changes to a why-dunit. The murderer is a person who is seeking revenge for a horrible wrong. At one time she had to do something that made her lose faith in the human race.
The equation I mentioned earlier is a type of scientific equation which proves all creatures are simply genes. The theory is that if an animal sacrifices itself to save another animal, it is not due to love or honor, it is simply because all the animals share the same genes and react due to instinct, not love. This equation supposes that love does not exist.
This sounds hokey when written out, but it makes the film a unique exercise as it mixes the gore of the Saw franchise with a disturbing, twisted love story. The gore is plentiful in this movie. The filmmakers recognize no taboos. There is a pregnant woman slaughtered. A child murdered. The gore is up close and disgusting and there are some truly cringe worthy moments. What makes this movie horrific is neither the gore nor the violent images, it is the actions of the victims. The horror comes when we witness the decisions the victims have to make, to see who is willing to kill and how far they are pushed to kill the one they love most.
None of this would mean anything if the cast did not deliver. Melissa George was a complete waste of space in this movie in a lightweight sidekick role that annoys more than she adds to the story. Stellan Skarsgard comes across annoying and is little too gruff at the start of the movie. When he talks to thugs on the street, he sounds a little like Christian Bale when he wears the Batman costume. That’s not a good thing.
However, at about the same time the movie switches away from the whodunit, Skarsgard turns up his performance and it is thanks to him the climax came off with a bang. It is rare these days for a film to surprise me, but this film pays off in spades. The killer is played to perfection by Selma Blair in what might be one of her best performances to date. Her performance in this movie fits her persona like a glove. She comes across smart, yet defective, and you understand she believes what she is doing is right. The climax when Skarsgard and Blair finally come face to face works perfectly.
The majority of this film was shot in Belfast, with a largely European cast. The movie is supposed to take place in New York City, and they succeeded in passing it off as the dark city. Television director Tom Shankland paints a grimy portrait that fits well with the Clive Bradley script. It is a great debut for both filmmakers who created a movie that works on almost every level. It is rare a movie like this surprises me. This one did, and I am eagerly awaiting the filmmaker’s next production.
There are three deleted scenes. One makes Melissa George’s character even more annoying than she was in the film. Another is only a few seconds and I don’t know why it was added here to begin with.
The Making of The Killing Gene is a nice twenty minute feature as a cameraman follows the filmmakers throughout the making of the movie. The Torture Featurette deals with the makeup effects used to create the gore. Finally, there is a twenty minute conversation with the director, writer and producer talking about their influences and the making of the movie.