Friday, October 14, 2011

Faceless people around me: Faces In The Crowd (2011)

Faces in the Crowd (2011)
starring: Milla Jovovich, Sarah Wayne Callies and Julian McMahon

First, a little unimportant fact: I'm not a big fan of Milla Jovovich and her Resident Evil movies. Seriously, among all the zombie movies I ever watched, that series is the worst of it all as whoever's responsible with these films can't seem to figure out what to do with the goddamn franchise and relies solely on stalling us with zombies, shoot-em-up action and stupid cliffhanger endings that gets tiring with each goddamn entry.

I know it's not Ms. Jovovich's fault, but everytime I see her face, all I see now is her tired Alice character and nobody else. So my first impression for Faces in The Crowd when I found out Milla's gonna be in it for a starring role, I tried my hardest not to remind myself of those dumb blow-them-up zombie flicks and see not a swash-buckling action babe, but a troubled everyday woman with a real job.

Anna Merchant is a primary school teacher who lives a near perfect life with a job she enjoys, stable friends and one loving boyfriend. One night while partying, however, she witnessed a horrific murder by an elusive serial killer dubbed "Tearjerk Jack" for his nasty habit of weeping over the lifeless bodies of his victims. When the killer's made aware that he's caught, he chases and attacks Anna until she falls off a bridge.

Left for dead and surviving the fall, Anna wakes up two weeks later in a hospital with a rare condition known as Prosopagnosia or "Face Blindness", wherein she lost the ability to recognize faces. Being the only surviving witness of the crime, the disorder becomes an ordeal for not only the desperate cops, who were hoping she could help them end the slayings, but also for Anna as she can no longer recognize her friends, families and even the children she teaches. Worse, Tearjerk Jack knows about her condition and he's closing in to finish the job.

Now, as a thriller, it fails at some points; for instance, the killer himself is nowhere as threatening as, shall we say, Bobbi from Dressed To Kill or Burke from Blow Out. These killers mean business and when they do their deadly deeds, they do it with profession and style. Tearjark Jack here, however, weeps and rapes over the dead bodies of his victims which is hardly intidimating for my taste. Disturbing, yes. But do I really want to see a man crying and whining over dead bodies whenever he kills? I can forgive Frank Zito of Maniac for that coz, let's face it, the guy's too mentally scarred to be hated, but "Jack" acts all tough and jerk-like during the his onscreen confrontations, at some point even showing some acknowledgement over his crimes so why make him sound like a pansy per female victim he kills? No, that's just pathetic to watch.

There's also the matter that the plot was too littered with thriller cliches such as, without spoiling much, the killer toying around with a victims despite having a monumental advantage over her. I guess we can argue that he's a sick fuck and openly took the opportunity to play with his food before finishing it, but with 100 minutes of running time, Faces has the nerve to drag around during the third act, adding some unnecessary love interest, between Anna and a hard-boiled detective who, like most serial killer thrillers, starts to warm up to the protagonist. It's sweet, I admit, with Milla's performance as our lead not being that entirely bad with the film's direction, but it could have been a better thriller if they focused more on the fact that the killer's closing in to our lead.

While the murders are simple and, dare I say, uninspired, they are accompanied with some pretty tight build-ups as Anna's condition starts to take a toll on her daily life, costing her job, her friends, and her love life, all the while the killer, again, taking advantage to this, looming among our heroine as he taunts her, forcing her to question her own sanity out of paranoia. It's these little moments that made Faces a fair watch, but not good enough to be a real keeper unless you are one of Ms. Jovovich's die hard fans. So with that, as poor as it's execution, Faces in the Crowd is nowhere a bad film with its interesting concept. A good attempt for a thriller, if you're open for some few failures.

1 female had her throat cut with razor
1 female had her neck slit with razor (dream)
1 male had his neck slashed with razor, bled to death
1 female found with throat cut
1 male had his head bashed to a mirror, throat cut
1 male repeatedly shot
1 male shot on the chest
total: 7


  1. I'm sooo pumped for this! Love the plot, love the trailer and of course, I love Milla :)

  2. Then buckle up, cuz it's a new good movie for Milla Fans!