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Review The Girl in the Photographs (2015): Waste of potential!

genre: thriller, horror

The Girl in the Photographs had everything to become a gialloesque thriller. Masked killers, a title very reminiscent used in a lot of giallo films and enough style to impress. But director Nick Simon screwed up big time.

The film starts out pretty good and does not waste time to show the kidnapping and consequently murder of horror icon Katherine Isabelle. Her mutilation and murder is not shown. But the result is being depicted in a picture that is left for main character Colleen in the supermarket where she works. Apparently she has been receiving several of these pictures which she has been showing to the police who hardly take it seriously since no bodies or crimes have been found. This is highly remarkable and unbelievable since these killers are hardly subtle and aren't really that picky when it come to their victims. How can these crimes get unnoticed in a small town like Spearshift? At least there should have been an increase of missing persons and how wouldn't that raise suspicion. Especially after having seen those pictures. Talk about incompetence. And who is the law in this town? Sherrif Porter played by Mitch Pileggi who basically doesn't give a damn. Or it could be that director Nick Simon wants us to think that these killers have been never caught since they are very meticulous and intelligent. From the way they operate that is very unlikely. Since one of the killers is very messy. 

Then Kal Penn enters the stage as famous photographer Peter Hemmings who is jealous of these photographs and wants to dive into it and investigate. And while this might sound intriguing we never ever get to see him do that. Instead he for the most part plays a douche and doesn't do anything worthwhile. It is at this point that I started to realize that this film might not deliver on it's promise. This realization got confirmed the minute when the faces of the killers are shown. Gone was the one mystery element that could have made me like this film. I love whodunits and guessing or deducting the killer ( or in this case killers) is a lot of fun for me. Now I have seen enough thrillers where knowing the identity is not always a deal breaker since often then other elements are provided to raise tension and suspense. Here those elements are almost non existent. And the result is that the film drags too much and ultimately is just plain boring. The film is only 95 minutes but I swear it felt like it lasted for over two hours or so. Apart from some gory moments there is nothing that will make your heart pump with fear and excitement. 

It's clear that Nick Simon doesn't know how to build up suspense or use red herrings. I kept hoping for this spectacular twist that would make everything right and I am still waiting for that to happen. In the end it all has been pointless. You never get to know why the killers do what they do or how they have managed to elude the police all this time. Even if there was a point to all of this you simply won't care since you are never made to. Maybe a case could be made for the ending to be at least haunting slightly. But that moment is so brief that it does not stack up to the total  tedium you have to sit through. 

So no, this film is a complete waste of time since it doesn't do anything of what it is supposed to do. And no Wes Craven (attached to this project as executive producer) would not have been proud. Stay clear from this!

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