Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Rosary Murders (USA, 1987)

Due to its plot, The Rosary Murders demands comparison to Alfred Hitchcock's relatively weak but nonetheless more interesting movie I Confess (1953), but truth be told, neither film is all that good. Director Fred Walton also made the more entertaining body count spoof April Fool's Day the same year as this film, but all in all, none of his films have ever been all that exciting. Even the involvement of Elmore Leonard as co-scripter didn't help this celluloid sleeping pill, a dull movie which unbelievably enough even has an uninvolving turn by Donald Sutherland as Father Koesler, a priest with a problem. (As if being a priest isn't a big enough problem in the first place.) Someone is killing priests and nuns in Detroit for no apparent reason, always leaving a black rosary on his victims as his calling card. After the unidentified murderer confesses his actions to the popular local priest Father Koesler (Sutherland), the holy man undertakes to discover who the murderer is, despite being bound by religious law to not reveal what is said in the confessional and, in turn, what he learns while playing detective. The good man quickly traces everything back to a father of a young girl who committed suicide. Seems she couldn't deal with the incessant sexual molestation her religiously fanatic father constantly subjected her to. Like any good nutcase, Daddy now blames the church for his daughter's suicide and is killing the clerics as revenge. As we all know, every killer needs a logical and believable way to choose his victims. In that snoozathon The January Man (1989), the murderer chooses his victims after the notes of a song, in Manhunter (1986) the victims get chosen indiscriminately from family photos, and in The Rosary Murders the Killer daddy chooses his victims by the similarity between their names and the ten commandments. (Okay, sure, why not?) Along the way he also kills a few innocents bystanders — a cop here and there as well as some old lady — but those murders happen more or less in passing. Of course, no film critical of organized religion can be all that bad, and neither is The Rosary Murders, providing you like your movies bloodless and dull. (Maybe William X. Kienzle's novel on which the film is based might be a bit better, but it seems unlikely.) For a much more interesting murder-among-the-religious flick, catch Alice, Sweat Alice/Communion instead.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...