Macabre…ish Horror Review: WΔZ



WΔZ, 2007/ 1 hr 44 mins

aka The Killing Gene


In New York, there’s a serial killer busy stacking up bodies and carving symbols into their abdomens. Specifically an equation, wΔz but the cops have not figured out it’s not a word, yet.


One of the victims is a visibly pregnant woman. A pair of detectives, Det. Eddie Argo (Stellen Skårsgard) and novice Det. Helen Westcott (Melissa George) are searching for leads. Westcott approaches a gang searching for the boyfriend of the pregnant victim, Wes (Michael Liebmann). The inquiry nets them an angry and near violent confrontation but they get a location.


The detectives arrive at a crumbling tenement building full of desperate people in dire straights. On the way upstairs they notice a lot of blood leading to an apartment with a deceased man inside, he’s been hanged and horribly tortured. Wes is dead. And the cops at the precinct, celebrate.


The coroner reports the victims were subdued with animal tranquilizer and the woman was electrocuted. The man, Wes, she says committed suicide but that doesn’t make sense, given his substancial injuries.


Argo, while out searching for Jamal (Sean Brian Chipango) at a family member’s home, Jamal comes sprawling in the door in bad shape, still alive but barely and covered in wounds, bleeding profusely. And outside, is another man, Wes’ twin brother, is found in the garbage, also tortured.


The cops insist this is a gang war but Wescott does not believe gangs are suddenly using algebra as an MO. But they are starting to being that the pairs could be being forced to torture or kill each other.


Wescott finds out who, in the state, sells the animal tranquilizer. And the scientist, Dr. Gelb (Paul Kaye), accidentally outs himself. He injects Argo, shoots at them, runs away and Wescott follows. She shoots him as he tries to drive off and drags him back inside, injured.


He explains himself and the idea of his equation, his theory to test why animal and people kill. He tests it on animals, he wanted to prove it to be genetic. But he insists he hasn’t been killing people, only animals. He thought he was just in trouble for the ketamine sales.


The killer isn’t Dr. Gelb, he has an alibi.


Wescott realizes the equation can be deciphered: kill those you love or be killed, yourself. How much pain will you endure before you kill those closest to you.


Argo says he knows of another case that reminds him of the theory of this case but the person it could be is an unlikely suspect. He says it’s a woman, Jean Lerner (Selma Blair), and she’s a former victim of exactly this MO. She was once tortured by a man named Pierre (Tom Hardy) and his gang of misfits. She was given the same choice, they would stop their brutality if she told them to kill her mother. The torture lasted 4 hours. And she was once an assistant to Dr. Gelb.


While Argo and Westcott look through the woman’s house, Argo gets a call from her. And she all but confesses. And they know who her next pair with be. A mother, Elly and her young son they saw the day before, in the projects. When they get to Elly (Sally Hawkins), her son, Dominic (Joshua O'Gorman) is already gone. And she is taken shortly there after in a white van.


The corrupt, apathetic cops barely care but Argo demand they do their jobs and search for her. Meanwhile, Pierre is loose, still, creating more chaos and death, cleaning up loose ends.


Meanwhile, Westcott goes to the Captain (Robert Phillips) with the fact that corruption is the primary reason this all happened. But this will not stop on it’s own, they have to find Jean because this is retribution and she won’t stop as long as her torturers live.


This film, directed by Tom Shankland, is very like Saw but more story than gore fest. There are graphic moments that are scattered throughout the film. It’s a good and intense flick.