“Cruiser” Review – Rome International Film Festival (**)

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Lori Beth Sikes and Shuler Hensley star in “Cruiser.”

The found-footage horror film “Cruiser” explores a lot in its 80 mins—human suffering, predestination, evil and the perverse power of God.

Sam Hensley Jr. wrote the film that stars his Tony Award-winning brother Shuler. The film starts as most any horror film, with an average guy living an average day. Rookie Officer Chip Tate’s cop car has just been outfitted with several cameras and he begins what appears to be a regular day on day on the job. Every day is typical, until it becomes the day you die.

A routine traffic stop introduces our nameless villain. When Officer Tate (Hayes Mercure) asks his name, he merely replies that it doesn’t matter. Within moments our Cruiser murders Officer Tate and assumes his identity; a kidnapping and a series of traffic stop murders follow.

The movie is slow to start, but it grew on the audience to a point. The Cruiser is a compelling character. He stops Tara Kirkland (Lori Beth Sikes), who assumes she is receiving a ticket for speeding, but instead finds herself sequestered in the back of a cop car, bearing witness to heinous murders.

Cruiser was a murderous messenger of the Messiah. He perpetually quotes Scripture and asks about the existence of a sovereign God. He wants to know why Judas Iscariot is always a bad guy. Judas was helping to fulfill the prophecy of God. He only did what he was destined to do. He convinces his victim that the ultimate way God shows his power is through the existence of evil.

The film was well acted, but the story lacked substance. In many ways, one could clearly deduce that a lawyer wrote it. The line of questioning Cruiser employs and the illogical logic scream ‘Lawyered!’

At points, the villain’s initially creepy operatic singing became laughable. There wasn’t much suspense, and no shocking twists or sense of danger. It wasn’t scary. It had the gratuitous violence and the body count of a Tarantino film without any humor.

I didn’t really like “Cruiser,” but it made me think.

2 out of 5 stars.
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