FILM: The River Murders
RUNNING TIME: 1 hr 28 mins
Out Now To Rent and Buy
What is it all about?
A homicide detective,while investigating a series of murders becomes the prime suspect when the FBI uncovers his close personal ties to all the victims.
The Hughes Verdict
Lets settle some arguments here before I start on The River Murders, the new straight to DVD Serial Killer film that has just been released on DVD. First that its star Ray Liotta has not been in a good film since the 90’s classic Goodfellas. Well that is totally wrong, yes some of his career choices have been more miss than hit, but he did star as one of the 90’s best psycho’s in the glorious guilty pleasure Unlawful Entry, but to end this silly debate, I only have to point towards the direction of the simply breathtaking Narc to show that there is more than a gangster film on his CV, there is also a cracking police drama has well.
My second point is that there are people who claim that the serial killer genre is dead thanks to Se7en which is regarded as the best of the lot when it comes to these kind of films. Again that is wrong. Yes since Fincher introduced us to the “what is in the box?” question, films have tried they best to beat the style of that dark and gloomy film but to no avail, but to say there has not been a good film since clearly miss the fact that I Saw The Devil was released only last year….a film that many consider equal or even better than the Brad Pitt film.
Which brings me to this film, The River Murders, could it be a thriller that becomes the third best film on not just Liotta’s CV but also on the serial killer list? Well the fact that it has slipped under the radar and straight to DVD offers little hope for both but is it still worth the watch?
Liotta plays Detective Jack Verdon who lets face it, is a stud. He loves sex, he loves to grind his naked body against a female and do the boogie woogie, so much that over the years he must have slept with 100 women. Before someone runs over to hand him a chlamydia
Jack is the main suspect of course despite support of two friends, his partner Jenny (Sarah Ann Schultz) and Captain Langley (Ving Rhames). The suspicions come from Agent Vuckovitch (Christian Slater) who comes across like a right dick but not so much that you hate him, he just wants to get the job done.
Now I am old fashioned when it comes to these films. I love the moment at the end when the killer is revealed because it makes the guessing part all worth it. Was you right or wrong? Its a great game which is one of the reasons why Se7en worked brilliantly because it twisted that notion on its head. I hate the ones that show who it is right from the off. Out of all these types its only Columbo I liked because the fun was watching Peter Falk teasing the killer, because lets face it, the great man knew who it was straight away. Films that do this for me rob the tension out of the film and it becomes a bit pointless, even though there are exceptions like I Saw The Devil.
The River Murders sadly reveals who it is after the twenty minute mark, which brought a huge sigh of despair from this viewer. Lucky for me, it was the motive that become the guessing game and its here the film excels in. Its pretty straight forward once you see what it is but its because its so simple, I just did not get it and for that reason alone, the film kind of worked.
Liotta is a solid actor who kept the film from not getting boring and while you can argue that Rhames and Slater are wasted, its Schultz in the role of Jenny that stands out because she is written really well and not once does she do the stupid things you expect a cop partner would do in this thriller genre.
Fans of the 90’s in which these were all the rage will find much enjoyment, only if you go in with little expectation. Its not ground breaking on every level but its one of those that you can not do wrong renting out on a weekend even though the likes of Liotta, Rhames and Slater deserve much better than a straight to DVD Offering……