(director: Mauro Borrelli; screenwriter: Reggie Keyohara III; cinematographer: Eric Gustavo Petersen; editors: James Kondelik/Franz Konigswieser; music: Leonardo De Bernardini; cast: Martin Lawrence (Jack Doyle), Melissa Roxburgh (Mary Kelly), John Malkovich (The Artist), Robert Knepper (Sheriff Owings), Jacob Grodnik (Dutch), Aiden Turner (Dale), Ritchie Montgomery (Father Linares), Jeremy Turner (The Copycat), Cassandra Gava (Voodoo Pristess); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Daniel Grodnik/Mitchell Welch; Lionsgate; 2022)

“Forgettable thriller.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Mauro Borrelli (“The Recall”/”E-Ghost”) throws in a few twists as he directs a deranged serial killer, copycat serial killer, procedural film, that’s fine with using a copycat formulaic approach even as it rips its copycat killer in the film. The “Mindcage” crime story lacks the needed tension and star performances to make it even watchable. The ordinary screenplay by Reggie Keyohara III doesn’t help things by being so uninspiring.

The sicko eccentric serial killer nicknamed The Artist (John Malkovich), recognized for using religious symbolism in his killings, is in prison, yet someone on the outside is copying his killings and the police can’t apprehend the new serial killer. Thereby two police detectives, Mary Kelly (Melissa Roxburgh) and Jack Doyle (Martin Lawrence, cast against type), try to get help from the original in solving the case by questioning him. They play cat and mouse games with the crackpot original, racing against time to stave off another killing.

I’m sure I saw a number of crime pics with similar plot threads, like for instance The Silence of the Lambs, a film that turned out much better than this forgettable thriller.


REVIEWED ON 12/24/2022  GRADE: C