(aka The Killing Gene, 2007)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This may be the darkest movie I've ever seen. I'm aware that the word "dark" is ambiguous in that context, but it doesn't matter which definition you assume. In terms of visibility, this film is so dark David Fincher would have been advising them to add some lightbulbs. In thematic terms, this film is so dark it makes Fincher's SE7EN look like a remake of The Sound of Music. I've seen other films referred to as Fincher Light. This one is Fincher Dark. It combines torture porn, a serial murderer, brutal rape, and scientific theories about human behavior and evolutionary biology.


That's right. Because she is tortured by memories of her own past experience, the killer is really into the hypothesis that species perpetuate themselves because selflessness is non-existent in nature. This helps her justify something she did in her past. She is interested in studying further whether humans can rise above the animal level to sacrifice their own lives to save the one they love most. The killer manages to combine her love of science with revenge against the people who gang-raped her some years ago. Here's how she goes about it: with each of her victims, she tranquilizes and captures both the criminals and the people they love most: one guy and his pregnant girlfriend, one guy and his beloved granny, one woman and her five-year-old boy. She attaches the loved one to an electric chair and gives the criminal the switch. Then she tortures the criminal to death slowly - unless they flip the switch, in which case they are free to go. The final pair consists of the cop who deliberately bungled the earlier rape investigation and his male lover, who happens to be one of the rapists. The same cop is also the lead detective in the investigation of the serial killings.

The dramatic tension, if you want to call it that, comes in the last ten minutes of the film as the serial killer tortures the daylights out of the cop, while the cop's lover sits in the electric chair, wondering how long it will be before he gets the buzzer. Will the cop prove to be any more selfless than the lowlifes who all killed their loved ones? You'll just have to watch the film to find out.

It is a totally unpleasant and brutal film but, or maybe I should say "because of that" instead of "but," is a highly effective film in its way. The editing is taut, and it is supported by an evocative and appropriately unpleasant score. Even the dim lighting is apropos in the context. Stellan Skarsgard really committed to the part of the cop, offering ten minutes of nudity (including his penis), and developing a complex noir character with all kinds of dark issues.

The IMDb score is misleading. Many people gave the film a low score not because it is incompetent, but because it is just so utterly unpleasant. The odds are pretty good that most of you will feel the same way, but the film accomplishes everything it sets out to do, and does so very well.

I just can't imagine why anyone would want to do it.


  Variety (of 4 stars)
3 BBC  (of 5 stars)


5.9 IMDB summary (of 10)


I could find no evidence of a North American theatrical release.



  • Stellan Skarsgard did full frontal nudity in an extended scene.
  • Michael Liebmann is naked as a corpse on the morgue slab.
  • Lauren Hood played a naked corpse.
  • Selma Blair's rape scene was cut to expose as little as possible.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: