Texas Killing Fields

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<i>Texas Killing Fields</i>

Big on suspense and cross-referencing various classics from Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry material to David Fincher’s Seven, Texas Killing Fields is in many ways the little film that could, offering some moments of real promise before revealing that, actually, it can’t, as it falls as flat as a badly edited made-for-TV movie.

As a local homicide detective, Sam Worthington shows he’s good for playing more than blue-painted aliens and mythological heroes. His character’s ham-fisted candor is nicely balanced by sidekick city slicker (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a transplanted cop from New York City.

The film’s story is inspired by a the string of real-life unsolved murders in a small Texas town in the 1970s. This thriller follows Worthington’s character, Mike, and his partner, Brian (Morgan), as they hunt a serial killer who deposits his female victims’ mutilated bodies in an isolated wasteland known as the Killing Fields.

After the two detectives begin closing in on the villain, the killer changes the game and begins hunting the detectives, leaving creepy clues at the crime scenes while still managing to elude them. When a well-known local girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) vanishes, the detectives are pitted against the clock to track before she is murdered.

This may sound like pretty tense, edge-of seat stuff, but things tend to drag a little, making it pretty easy to exit for a popcorn break without missing anything too special. Still, the stunning and raw Texas landscapes figure well, and all things Texan are given a heightened presence through tension between the two detectives, with homeboy Mike continually clashing with Brian, the “yankee” and all-round outsider.

Things get off to good start in terms of pace and tension, though sadly this is countered by a bunch of dragging, tired fodder. If you’re one for formulaic macho cop stories mixed with token gory stuff then you’re in luck. Then again, a new season of Storage Wars is about to start. That may be better value.