First Next and now this … what is up with Hollywood and its lack of endings these days? This movie does so well for itself – it really couldn’t fail to, being as it is that foolproof thing, a strong Hitchcockian thriller with bigger stars than it deserves. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale might not be the strongest of actors, but they’re certainly above this material, and this works in the movie’s favour bigtime. It reminded me of Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen in Derailed. The visuals, too, are much more impressive than I expected – a great running theme of mirrors and windows that I’ll definitely watch the movie again for.
Then there’s Frank Whaley – who, though not in the movie nearly enough (as much as that applies to this 80-minutes missing an ending lol), from the moment he appears, sets the movie on fire. He’s kind of played psychotic before, in Swimming with Sharks, but it would still never have occurred to me how good he’d be in the Norman Bates role. He’s terrifying, yet he almost lends the movie some weird kind of much-needed comic relief.
There’s hardly any gruesome imagery, which will surely upset a large portion of its audience (the 15 as opposed to 18 rating in the UK should prevent that expectation; I can’t say as much for its US R rating). There’s a slight “Hostelity” about the whole ordeal, but much of the detail happens on TV screens, behind closed doors, and the movie is better for it.
All this goodness goes out of the window, though, in the last 2 minutes. It’s not quite as abrupt as Next, I’ll give it that; but it does leave you feeling a little empty. The way it ends – it has worked before, I’m not saying I’m opposed to open empty endings at all – when they work. This one, though, it’s just kind of, “Oh,” and far less than the movie feels it’s building to.