A review of “Mindhunters” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: R for extreme violence, language and bloodshed

Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

 

 

Rumor has it that Mindhunters has been sitting on the shelf for more than two years gathering cinematic dust.  Maybe so, but this flawed B-horror film has all the tasteless trappings of a sinful guilty pleasure. 

The premise is a cat-and-mouse classic.  A bevy of hip young FBI profiling trainees are sent to an abandoned island by eccentric honcho Jake Harris (Val Kilmer) who likes to skew the scenario his own way.

Once on site at their eerie simulated training exercise the hot young things are asked to uncover the secrets of a faux serial killer and return with a complete dossier.  The setting is fraught with clues that require the team to band together to use their most lethal weapons: their brains.

But the tables are turned when the isolated ghost town becomes a deadly set of traps intent on picking off the young officers one by one by catering to their secret pasts and worst fears.

The cast is an homage to Hollywood’s It boys and girls (Eion Bailey, Clifton Collins Jr., Jonny Lee Miller, Patricia Velasquez), each smarter and more gorgeous than the last.  Troop leader Reston (Christian Slater) is the first to bite it in a series of grisly deaths.  Fear of the unknown ratchets up the tension as the group begins to turn on one another in suspicion and terror.

The lone outsider is Justice Department heavy Gabe Jensen (LL Cool J), a black sheep and thus Suspect Numero Uno when the chips are down.  And they’re down and dirty in the countdown to murder; beheadings, drownings, electrocutions, etc.

A nude shower scene and a couple of inter-group romances add to the cheese factor. Cheap thrills are plentiful and the script vacillates wildly between the ridiculous and the sublime (I overstate).  Unintentionally hilarious on the one hand and scarier than it should be on the other, Mindhunters goes full throttle to the final outrageous climax.