Faces in the Crowd DVD Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by Metrodome Distribution
Directed by Julien Magnat
Written by Julien Magnat and Kelly Smith
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 98 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 9th January 2012
Milla Jovovich as Anna Marchant
Sarah Wayne Callies as Francine
Julian McMahon as Sam Kerrest
Michael Shanks as Bryce
Forgetting a friend’s name is bad, but imagine if you forgot what they looked like. That’s what Milla Jovovich has to deal with in Faces in The Crowd, a hit and miss psychological thriller from newcomer director Julien Magnat. Jovovich plays Anna, a mild mannered primary school teacher who accidently stumbles upon the local serial killer, Tearjerk Jack, doing what he does best. Luckily she manages to escape his evil clutches and stabby knife but in doing so falls off a bridge and suffers a severe whack to the head. She wakes to discover that the bump has given her ‘face blindness’, a rare condition that leaves her unable to recognise people after she’s finished talking to them.
As you can imagine, she’s not best pleased. For starters, she’s not sure who her boyfriend is anymore or which mystery face is the trusty chief of police. However, when she starts to suspect that old Tearjerk Jack may be trailing her in an attempt to finish what he started, the paranoia really hits home.
Magnat takes an impressive stab at this pseudo-horror genre, attempting to make the shifty unease of Jovovich’s constantly confused character an immersive affair. No, we’re not talking 3D specs; Magnat’s audience involvement process is way more subtle. He invites us to see the events unfold from Anna’s damaged point of view, employing multiple actors to portray each character and adding to the film’s ‘who’s who?’ motif.
Despite being brought in with the best intentions, it’s a technique that quickly becomes a bit too confusing for its own good. Just like Anna, you’ll find yourself wondering if people really are who they say they are but unlike our troubled heroine, you probably wont really care that much. It’s a problem that could have been easily fixed with some likable supporting faces or a tad more character development. We never really find out why the mysterious Tearjerk Killer is so stab-happy and Anna’s two-dimensional BFFs are so uninteresting that when they inevitably fall victim to his blade you’ll probably end up grinning instead of cringing.
As a result, Faces In The Crowd falls short of becoming the deep psychological horror that it aspires to be. Instead, what we get is a popcorn movie that feels more like a throwaway made-for-TV effort than a thought-provoking thriller. Ironically, Faces In The Crowd becomes just that, pretty forgettable...
Audio, Video and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.