on January 16, 1998 by Christine James
The demon spirit of an executed serial killer ("Crash's" Elias Koteas) pursues the detective who apprehended him (Denzel Washington) in this muddled, slow-paced supernatural thriller, whose boxoffice prospects are much scarier than its disembodied villain. The interesting premise, in which the demon can jump from body to body through a single touch, is sapped of realization by a lack of thorough explanation of or exploration into the entity's history and motivations. Embeth Davidtz's character, a woman who becomes a theosophy professor as a result of her father's death at the hand of this same creature, is completely wasted, hardly furthering the plot at all. None of the protagonists are humanized enough to elicit our concern for their well-being, and a puzzlingly sporadic narration takes audiences out of the moment. The twist ending is a groaner that would raise several questions if you could be bothered to ask. Starring Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Embeth Davidtz. Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Written by Nicholas Kazan. Produced by Charles Roven and Dawn Steel. A Warner release. Thriller. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 122 min.
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