Renny Harlin is a hit or miss director. Sometimes he can drop the ball in the most horrendous of fashions [*cough* Exorcist: The Beginning *cough*], and sometimes he runs with it, taking us all along on what can be one helluva ride! Mind Hunters falls fiendishly into the latter category.
The mind of a serial killer. There have been numerous films made over the last three decades that invite us, the viewer, into it. We can look around, laugh at the lunacies, and even develop a bit of sympathy for the devil. Mind Hunters takes a much different look — a look not into the minds of killers, but into the minds of those that profile them.
In the beginning of the film we’re introduced to a troupe of would- be profilers. They have one test left to pass: solve a simulated murder on the training grounds of a deserted island city called Crimetown. Things quickly turn sour for our group as the exercise turns deadly when a killer starts not only profiling them, but taking them out one by one.
Fear and paranoia aplenty ensue as the body count grows higher and the violence gets more gruesome by the kill. Harlin does an amazing job of building tension and delivering the goods. I was constantly trying to figure out who or what was going to happen next. I’m pretty jaded, but this film kept me on edge. It’s kind of hard to talk about this film without giving away plot twists and spoilers. So in the interest of surprise let me leave you with this one last remark about it: If there’s one thing Mind Hunters really has going for it, it’s VIOLENCE! Sweet, dripping, steaming heaps of the red stuff are thrown around with seemingly reckless abandon in truly inventive ways. Gorehounds needn’t look far for a fix.
The film plays like a breath of fresh air on all too familiar ground. Even if this release were bare bones, I would have bought it for the film alone, but luckily, the fine folks over at Dimension have fashioned a pretty decent DVD package for us. In it we get a director commentary and three featurettes about the making of Mind Hunters from conception and stunt work to a short tour of Crimetown, which in and of itself acts as a character in the film.
There’s a lot to like about Mr. Harlin’s latest effort. Even though at times it is flawed, it still plays better than most of the stuff currently out there. Good ideas still exist, and even if we’ve been down a particular road many times, there are still some sights left to see. Just bring your raincoat. Things tend to get a bit messy around Crimetown.
Mind Hunters (2004)
(Dimension Home Video)
Directed by Renny Harlin
Starring James “L.L. Cool J” Todd Smith, Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Katherine Morris, Jonny Lee Miller
Profiling Mindhunters featurette
Stunt Sequence featurette
A Director’s Walk Through Crimetown featurette
3 1/2 out of 5