Thank Denzel Washington for rescuing Gregory Hoblit’s horror thriller from the mundane. His Detective John Hobbes is a study in freefall. Greatly relieved when serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas) is executed, he can’t help noticing the killer goes out grinning and humming a tune (“Time is on my Side”). It’s the same tune Hobbes begins hearing as a new killing spree begins. Is Hobbes mad or is Reese an avenging angel? When a linguist concludes Reese’s final mutterings were in Aramaic, a deeper darkness sets in.
Hoblit (“Primal Fear”) takes nothing for granted. His Hobbes is a rational man. Which makes the plot all the more troubling when enters the paranormal. Washington gets able support from Embeth Davidtz, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, and James Gandolfini. Nicholas Kazan, who wrote “Reversal of Fortune,” seamlessly throws in natural and supernatural traps. See this and you’ll never listen to The Stones’ “Time is on My Side” in quite the same way.