DVD review: The Perfect Witness [MA15]

Dir: Thomas C. Dunn
Starring: Wes Bentley and Mark Borkowski.

The Film:
I was rather curious and excited to check this film out, I enjoy a good serial killer flick. This one sounded unique, and the premise was promising. However this was not exactly what I had expected and honestly this isn’t a very good film. A huge factor that contributed to that was some really poorly written dialogue and the performance by Wes Bentley.

The film centers on amateur filmmaker Mickey (Bentley) and he has a serial killer fascination. One night he stumbles across one that he has been after, James (Mark Bowkowski) and he films him. The two soon meet and rather than embark on a documentary making partnership, James begins to play sick and twisted games with Mickey. Will Mickey be able to stop him and turn the tables? I guess you’ll need to brave it to find out.

The story here sounds great on paper, what an awesome hook for a serial killer film. We have seen similar things before, but honestly is anything that unique nowadays? The execution of the story was okay at best, it had so much potential to be more and thrilling but it just wasn’t. The character of Mickey is poorly written, he spouts out some bad dialogue and it is made so unbearable to watch by Wes Bentley’s performance. He had no idea how to handle himself, it is especially difficult to watch, almost embarrassing when he has to show any kind of emotion. With a poorly written character you can’t blame him entirely, it feels like he tried but it just didn’t work.

Mark Borkowski who also co-wrote the script with the films director Thomas Dunn, fairs much better. Perhaps he gave himself the stronger character and dialogue, I don’t know. But his performance is rather strong, and he makes for a chilling serial killer. Just the look of him alone his menacing but his words and actions are frightening. Unfortunately for this ‘game’ the leads have zero chemistry together, and as a unit they just don’t function. It is unbalanced and something really does seem off. It is a shame because I really wanted this to work, and in turn the film wasn’t engaging.

At the end of the day the film isn’t terrible, it is actually nicely shot and I loved the added aura of the voyeuristic nature of it. Some parts of the script are strong and it has some decent performances. But the bad outweighs the good, it wasn’t an entirely terrible effort but it isn’t exactly a good one either. Perhaps with a little more work it could have been better, I really expected more. I wouldn’t dismiss the film entirely; there are some things worth checking out. Each to their own as the saying goes, but in the sub-genre of serial killer films this goes under average.

The Australian DVD 
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.

Special Features:
* Audio Commentary with Thomas Dunn, Mark Borkowski and Yan Fisher-Romanovsky
* Storyboards
* Trailer

The commentary isn’t one of the best I have heard, it does give some in-sight and there are certainly some interesting facts. It just doesn’t isn’t as interesting as it could have been, but still worth checking out.


DVD details here.

Thanks to Bill at Gryphon Entertainment care of Curious Film for the copy.

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