Tired of seeing lissome females menaced by serial killers? Here’s an equal-opportunity psycho who targets plus-size victims.
Sgt. Jim Fallon and Det. Sophia Tregaskis, of the St. Anselm (Florida) Police Department, have a mess on their hands. Literally. The crime scene at 25 Pelican Way is the most horrific Fallon’s ever seen or Sophia’s ever imagined. It seems that the killer attacks women of size—Marcy Fleming is only his first—and uses the fearsome implements in his black leather satchel to shape their bodies to a more svelte model. Working intermittently with Dr. Eva Swanson, a psychologist Marcy had briefly consulted, the two detectives reverse the killer’s procedure, building up a picture of him piece by piece. The sleuthing is routine, one unrevealing witness pointing the way to the next, and the salt-and-pepper rapport between politically incorrect veteran Fallon and ardent Greek-American Sophia (an obvious Nia Vardalos role) straight out of Central Casting. Worse, the killer’s psychosis, when it’s finally explained, is muddled and unconvincing, more successful for its shock value than its insight into the dark places of the human soul.
Satterthwait, whose specialty is witty period pieces (Cavalcade, 2005, etc.), doesn’t bring much edge to this anthology of scenes from your favorite suspense films (Psycho, Speed, The Silence of the Lambs, etc.). The results fall short of perfection.