UK Release Date: 25th September 2015
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Afonso Poyart
Writer: Peter Morgan, Sean Bailey
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell, Jose Pablo Cantillo
Synopsis: The FBI draws a psychic doctor out of retirement in an attempt to track down a serial killer who seems to be one step ahead of the cops.
In the early noughties, a story was mooted that was to be a sequel to David Fincher’s classic horror–thriller Se7en. After years in development hell, numerous script rejigs and a complete diversion from its original purpose, that film arrived this year as the distinctly uninspired and incredibly bland supernatural thriller Solace.
Joe (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Katherine (Abbie Cornish) are FBI agents investigating a string of bizarre murders in which painless methods have been used by the killer. They enlist an old friend of Joe’s – psychic doctor John (Anthony Hopkins) – in an attempt to get one step ahead of the killer. However, John soon becomes spooked when it transpires that the murderer appears to be a clairvoyant as well.
Solace has, on the face of it, quite an interesting central premise. The notion of a clairvoyant investigator butting heads with a criminal who possesses equal foresight is an intriguing one. This film completely squanders that premise, though, lumbering through an unwieldy plot without anything in the way of excitement, horror or surprise.
| "He’s just like me. He sees things. Only he’s a whole lot better."
Anthony Hopkins phones it in as the central clairvoyant, doing the same Hannibal Lecter stare he can presumably do in his sleep at this point. In fact, the most remarkable thing about him is his silver mullet, which remains impeccably styled for the entirety of Solace. Hopkins’ performance couldn’t be more uninspired, particularly in his scenes with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Their characters are supposed to be long-time friends, but there’s no sense of any real history between them. Abbie Cornish fares slightly better, but she’s no Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs.
Solace is a limping, ungainly movie that never creates any excitement for the viewer, despite its potentially interesting conceit. There are also baffling creative decisions aplenty, including the fact that Colin Farrell’s grumpy arrival is portrayed as a shock and a surprise – even though he was all over the trailers and given second billing behind Hopkins on every poster.
The major strength of Se7en was that it succeeded as both a horror movie and as a crime thriller. Solace doesn’t succeed in either of those genres, failing to be either scary or mysterious. The clairvoyance aspect of the story is never mined in the way that it should have been and the finale plays things arrow straight rather than going for a much-needed subversion.
| "I don’t hold an ounce of confidence in the paranormal."
There’s a sense throughout that Solace is a film that was abandoned and left in a bag at the side of a road by a studio whose best laid plans had fallen apart. Once the prospect of a Se7en sequel was binned, Solace lacked a raison d’être and was simply hurried quietly in and out of cinemas in an act of damage limitation.
Pop or Poop?
In a year that hasn’t exactly been the greatest for horror cinema, Solace is another deeply disappointing addition to the genre.
The performers largely phone it in and the plot never creates much in the way of surprise or suspense. This is a turkey and a half.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.