Run from ‘The Hills’ but check out your ‘Zodiac’


Directed by David Fincher

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. & Mark Ruffalo

5 out of 5 stars

Early previews hinted that this film would follow in the footsteps of recent slasher flicks, offering little in the way of acting and a story while providing buckets of gore and carnage. However, it becomes apparent within the first 15 minutes that the movie will resemble a grisly mutation of both “All The President’s Men” and “Silence of the Lambs” instead.

The movie is based on two non-fiction books written by cartoonist-turned-investigator Robert Graysmith.

During the late ’60s and ’70s, a series of now infamous murders rocked Northern California as an invisible killer stalked random and innocent citizens, murdering them at gunpoint and leaving cryptic messages at the crime scene. The “Zodiac Killer,” as he began calling himself, proceeded to send several encoded messages to a variety of newspapers, taunting the police and sending the entire state of California into a panic.

One of the papers that received such a letter was the San Francisco Chronicle, which works as the base for this film. The film follows Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) and fellow journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) as they search for the identity of the killer.

At a whopping 156 minutes, the movie might feel like an overly extended episode of “C.S.I.”, but with its twists and turns and a constant lingering feeling of danger, it promises to keep audiences clenching their armrests in anticipation.

From the first murder scene to the finger-pointing finish, “Zodiac” triumphs over nearly every suspense-thriller that has come out in the past few years.

“The Hills Have Eyes 2”

Directed by Martin Weisz

Starring Michael McMillian & Jessica Stroup

2 out of 5 stars

After the pointless remake of the horror classic destroyed cinema last year, I wonder why I had hoped that this sequel would be any better.

The setting is the same: a desert in the middle of New Mexico.

The story is the same: a group of senseless victims (in this case they are members of the National Guard) is put at the non-existent mercy of a clan of mutated and pissed-off freaks that inhabit the hills of the desert.

The graphic nature of the film, dare I say, is viler than the first, featuring a terribly explicit birthing scene that made several members of the audience leave the theater.

As a group of Guard trainees come to a research station placed in the middle of these inhabited hills, they soon discover that they are not alone as they slowly (and quite violently) are picked off one by one.

People are shot, body parts get hacked off, there’s a lot of crying and even a rape scene. It sounds as fun as it is.

The movie, while creating an interesting battle-like mentality between the humans and the mutants, never really cares about developing its characters as anything more than pawns knocking each other off the board.

It’s there where the film falls into the lump of poorly constructed horror flicks that Hollywood is so fond of recently.

Here’s some advice: Instead of wasting $8 to go see this pointless endeavor, go rent “The Descent,” which is what this film feels like it is trying to emulate.

Or if you’re craving to go to the movies, just see “Zodiac” instead … it’s a lot better.