Director – Bill Paxton
Cast – Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter
Release Year – 2001
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This film is one of those rare hidden gem type films that goes by unnoticed, but is actually really good. This film stars veteran actor Bill Paxton, who also directs the film as well. Some of you may remember Bill Paxton from the infamous 80s vampire flick “Near Dark“, James Cameron’s “Aliens“, and “Predator 2“. Anywho, this is one of those films that does not need, or use a big budget or amazing special effects to get the job done. This is a story driven film that does what so many films try to do, but fail at.
This film focuses on a serial killer in Texas known as the “Gods Hand” killer. Late one night our lead character Fenton Meiks(played by Matthew McConaughey) heads to the Dallas FBI office and asks to speak to the FBI agent in charge of the “God’s Hand” case. He quickly gets to the point and tells the FBI agent that he knows who the killer is. With the agent in serious doubt over Fenton’s statement, Fenton then goes into more detail on how his family was forced to endure their father’s visits from angels telling him to go out and kill specific “demons” that were poisoning society with their horrible actions. The story is told mainly from a flashback point of view, with Fenton’s voice narrating the past events to us as we view them ourselves. The boys must figure out whether or not their father(Bill Paxton) is really having visions from angels and actually killing “demons”, or if he has become deranged and is actually killing innocent people. However there is much more hidden within the story than Fenton is telling, and the FBI agent is determined to find out what he is hiding.
I really enjoyed the storyline for this film, and found it to not only be very interesting, but it makes up for the lack of gore. I would have personally preferred to have seen more of the actual kills in the film, but this story was so interesting I really cannot dock the film for the lack of gore. The performances in this film were good, especially from Bill Paxton. I also personally feel that this one of McConaughey’s best roles so far, too bad for him it was in one of his lesser known films. I also really liked the roles of the young Meiks brothers during the flashback scenes. Most of the time children used in films are really put there for literally NO REASON and never add anything to the film. In this film, they are used to provide conflict to the plot, as well as understanding into whether or not the father is really killing demons or simply murdering people. Is God really instructing him to do his work and rid the earth of these bad people? That is the question you have during the entirety of the film(until you find out at the end), and it is the young Meiks brothers in the film that help us get to answering that question.
I do not have any major complaints for this film. The only real problem for this film was that it seemingly had a small budget, but it doesn’t show all that much. The film also develops a little slow, but the progressing story should keep you interested enough to wait until the good stuff gets going about 25-30 minutes into the film.
Overall, this is a really good film and has most likely been passed by at your local video store tons of times without anyone realizing how interesting it is. Check this out!
– I ranked this film #30 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(21-30) post.