Ahhh, the early aughts produced some cocky but really fun movies. Mindhunters, a suspenseful thriller following a twisted serial killer fucking with a bunch of FBI profilers is one of them. Within the first ten minutes, it will be clear to you that this is not a realistic movie. It’s a highly entertaining thriller with some horror elements and a familiar cast. So, before you start watching it you need to check your brain at the door and simply suspend your belief. Just relax and get ready to be hit by wave after wave of entertainment.
Since it features a sadistic villain killing off people using traps, you might say that Mindhunters is similar to Saw. Although the movies were made the same year, their writers didn’t know about each other. I remember watching it a couple of years after it came out, loving the visuals and the pacing. And after seeing it in 2022, I can confidently say that it stood the test of time. Now it even has a certain nostalgia vibe going on. Mindhunters is directed by Renny Harlin, the guy behind such hits as Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, and The Long Kiss Goodnight.
He also directed Deep Blue Sea and if you saw that movie, you know what this one is going to be like. Harlin also didn’t want the movie to have a lead. That way you don’t know who’s going to live or die. The cast did a terrific job, especially LL Cool J, Clifton Collins Jr. and Kathryn Morris. The characters they will be playing may be stereotypical but this oddly adds to the overall fun factor. Along with the fact they were kind of taking themselves too seriously.
Eight young FBI students just landed on a remote and uninhabited island used by the navy for training exercises. They were brought there by their charismatic boss, agent Jake Harris, a man who uses unconventional teaching methods. Their assignment is to figure out who the mysterious serial killer is by examining a bunch of clues Harris left all over the island. However, the exercise soon turns into something entirely else.
So, this is basically, Final Destination but with FBI profilers. Only you can also play this guessing game, trying to figure out who’s the bad guy the whole time. There will be clues and twists and before you know it, the movie will be over. And just when you think that they couldn’t do a more pretentious scene, the next one blows you away. It’s like I’m not even mad, that’s amazing. The thing I loved the most about this movie is the cinematography.
It’s just so damn juicy and appealing, just like in other movies shot around this time. The editing might have been a bit over-the-top but it fits in nicely with the overall vibe of the movie. And get ready for some pretty gruesome death scenes that feel like they belong in some horror movie. I think that Se7en was a strong influence. The finale was a bit too long for my taste but at least they wrapped up the story nicely complete with flashbacks explaining what actually happened.
Director: Renny Harlin
Writers: Wayne Kramer, Kevin Brodbin
Cast: Val Kilmer, LL Cool J, Christian Slater, Kathryn Morris, Clifton Collins Jr., Jonny Lee Miller, Patricia Velasquez
Fun Facts: The dominoes used in the domino close-ups were actually ten times the size of normal dominoes.