By Ron Wells | April 20, 1998

Hey, what’s that smell? Somebody finally cleaned the ‘fridge at Miramax (Dimension, whatever) and released this 1996 remake of the 1994 Danish film, both directed by Ole Bornedal. Whether or not it passed its expiration date (with “hip” songs such as Chemical Bros.’ “Setting Sun”, and hot new star Ewan McGregor) is your call.
This is one damn creepy picture. Ewan McGregor stars as Martin Bells, a law student who takes a job as a night watchman at a morgue/forensics lab. Unfortunately for him, a serial killer is slaughtering prostitutes, and he wants to pin the work on Martin, driving him insane in the process. Martin must also contend with his best friend, emotionally-crippled best bud, James (ex-“Goonie”, future Streisand stepson, Josh Brolin.) James involves Martin in a series of increasingly weird stunts/practical jokes, just to make the two feel more alive. James is either too crazy to be the killer, or too crazy not to be the killer.
At any rate, Brolin, with the flashier role, steals the movie out from under young Obi-Wan. The film implies most of the violence but has no restraint in displaying the gory results. If that sounds a little like “Seven”, it’s part of the movie’s big problem. It comes off as an amalgam of everything that was cool in 1996, when we first saw the trailer. Dimension (Miramax, whatever) has been jerking it around ever since, until dumping it now. It’s too bad. I’d have probably given at least an extra half star if part of it didn’t seem so dated. The best thing is that for once, I’m getting some thrill out of a thriller.

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