Let me get this straight: It is 2015. We can land a spacecraft on a moving comet. We have decoded the DNA strand and recreated the original spark of the universe in a humongous underground tube in Europe. But we are asked to believe, take seriously, and possibly even be frightened no less, by a movie which puts forth that a 13-year-old boy experiences a deeply traumatic event, it ‘makes’ him schizophrenic and he then – of course – becomes homicidally violent. Are you kidding me? They threw that theory out in the late 1960s, and even more criminal, it doesn’t even make for a half-way decent movie.
ENTER THE DANGEROUS MIND comes to us from the directing team of Youssef Delara and Victor Teran who have collaborated previously. Teran is also the screenwriter for this movie as well. Having not seen their prior efforts I cannot judge whether something just went awry here, North Korea got involved mid-way, or maybe Mercury was in retrograde for the entire filming schedule, but somewhere something went very very wrong. The movie stars Jake Hoffman as the lead character Jim Whitman, a young man who aside from one persistently annoying and perseverative friend (Thomas Dekker), leads a quiet life composing dub-step music and doing some IT triage for friends in need. I struggled to believe that Jim could summon forth the creativity or passion to compose music – even heavily sampled electronic music – as he is noticeably monotone even when he does utter a syllable or two. He meets Wendy (Nikki Reed) who works at a day treatment center with which Jim is clearly familiar, as he is with its director Kevin (Scott Bakula), and he is attracted to her. Wendy is kind, patient and seems accepting of Jim’s crippling shyness and dearth of typically cheezy pick-up lines. Wendy is no great conversationalist herself.
Within the first several minutes of the film (spoiler alert!) we realize that Jim’s only friend, who greatly resembles Billie Joe Armstrong of the band Green Day, is an auditory hallucination, but he doesn’t sound as good as Armstrong. Yup, just a voice in his head. And his own Green Day friend is not very nice at all. It all goes downhill from here with much muttering, shaving accidents, do-it-yourself screwdriver surgery and more. Reed seems as though she is reading lines she has never seen before off a teleprompter; they are silly, insipid and naive. The dialogue between she and her mentor (Bakula) is written as if trying to teach kindergarten students about mental illness. The story culminates, not surprisingly, around Wendy in a bloody confrontation. In the throes of a psychotic break and a violent rampage, shouting “it’s not your fault” won’t suddenly make someone stop and realize, oh yeah – it’s gonna be fine, I’ll stop shooting your eyes out with my pellet gun. The film as a whole is wildly ignorant and disrespectful of those truly suffering with mental illness, the reality of persistent mental illness, and reinforces every incorrect and fear based stereotype out there. Jim has neither the legendary terror of a Leatherface, nor the style and intense creep factor of a Jame Gumb.
I wish I could say that there were great effects, or an inspired palette, or even that the dub-step was good, but I can’t. Hoffman, Reed, Dekker and Bakula are all actors with a number of credits to their name. It would be unfair to pin this train-wreck on them. I wish that they had a story with some merit, a shocking twist of some kind (there is a twist which is so ho-hum it barley counts), some intelligence or ethical grounding to work with or – at the very least – a compelling villain. We precious viewers are left wondering…why? What’s the point? And in the end, when Green Day says, “there’s only one thing left to do…” I prayed that it was to end this movie right there and then.(1 / 5)
Directors: Youssef Delara & Victor Teran
Starring: Jake Hoffman, Nikki Reed, Scott Bakula, Thomas Dekker,Runtime: 88 minutes
Movie Review Enter The Dangerous Mind