Needle DVD Review
Directed by John V. Soto
Written by Anthony Egan & John V. Soto
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 13th June 2011
Tahyna Tozzi as Mary
Jane Badler as Professor Banyon
Travis Fimmel as Marcus Rutherford
Michael Dorman as Ben Rutherford
Ben Mendelsohn as Detective Meares
Bunch of college kids get bumped off in a variety of bloody ways by an unknown killer. Sound familiar? It is and it isn’t. The college is in Australia and the antagonist doesn’t lay a finger on any of the victims in this fairly passable second film from director John V. Soto.
So, a killer that doesn’t come into physical contact with the victims, how’s that work then? It all starts when archaeology student Ben Rutherford inherits a mysterious box from his father. He takes it to his senior professor, but she can’t identify its purpose apart from finding out that it was somehow connected to the Grand Guignol theatre. Thinking it is little more than a stage prop, Ben tosses it under his bed and carries on doing what college kids do: partying.
After a drunken night he wakes to find the mysterious artefact has been stolen. Still unaware of its purpose, it’s not a big deal to him, but the person who stole it certainly knows how to use it. A photograph of the victim, a drop of blood, and some melted wax is all that’s required to get a result from this machine. Add the ingredients, crank the handle and out pops a wax effigy that works in the same way as a voodoo doll. Cut it and the victim bleeds, break it and the victim breaks, melt it with red-hot needles and... well you’ll have to see the film to find out.
Needle struggles somewhat because it takes the concept of the box, which is pretty neat, and then winds it into a scenario that is all too familiar. It’s like the filmmakers wanted to push the boat out and try something different, but didn’t want to step out of the comfort zone of ‘college kids get bumped off in predictable order’. The characters are mostly cookie-cutter for this style of film, although a mildly interesting back story develops as Ben’s estranged brother Marcus shows up and begins to help him solve what’s going on. Marcus is played by Travis Fimmel, whose acting style I found incredibly irritating. He seems to twitch and jerk his mannerisms like someone coming down off drugs. There’s nothing alluded to in the story to explain this, so I can only assume this is the way he performs.
Needle starts strongly with the first few deaths being satisfyingly brutal and gruesome, but loses its way towards the second half. As mentioned earlier, it’s almost a simple task to identify who’s getting killed next, each character’s screen time being inversely proportional to their chances of being killed. When the killer is finally revealed, and the reasons for the revenge, you probably won’t care particularly. And neither did I, but then I also didn’t feel too short-changed as, despite its flaws, Needle is a not unpleasant waste of 90 minutes.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.