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There was a time when a serial killer film, based on a novel written in part by James Patterson, would be a hot commodity in Hollywood. In fact, at one point, The Postcard Killers (the novel’s original name) had no less than famed cinematographer Janusz Kamiński signed to direct, after filmmakers like Paul Greengrass and Gavin O’Connor had flirted with helming. However, those incarnations were not to be, and this weekend The Postcard Killings (a retitling meant to make it seem even more generic) opened, destined to be quickly forgotten about. Without the same talent behind the camera, the flaws are even easier to spot than they otherwise would have been. Misguided, boring, and even often tasteless, this is a real dud.

The movie is a crime drama, following a series of brutal murders. When his daughter is murdered, along with her husband, while on her honeymoon in Europe, New York detective Jacob Kanon (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is grief stricken, but also determined to solve the crime. He heads to London, where his daughter and son-in-law were slain, quickly learning that they’re a part of a serial killer’s rash of murders. Helped out back stateside by his wife Valerie (Famke Janssen), as well as by European ex pat journalist Dessie Leonard (Cush Jumbo), he begins to piece together how a young couple is murdered, with the killer sending seemingly random postcards to journalists before and after the crime. At the same time, we’re following a young couple in Sylvia (Naomi Battrick) and Mac (Ruairi O’Connor) as they vacation. Are they next? As expected, there are twists, but they’re hardly as clever as one would hope for. Danis Tanovic directs a screenplay by Liza Marklund and Andrew Stern, based on the novel that Marklund co-wrote with Patterson. Salvatore Totino handles the cinematography, Simon Lacey composed the score, and Denis O’Hare highlights the supporting players.

I’m not sure the material would have worked in anyone’s hands, but the talent here, both in front of and behind the camera, leaves a lot to be desired. Everyone seems oddly disengaged, rob

The Postcard Killings

Now playing, The Postcard Killings is one of the poorer titles of 2020 so far, saved only by the fact of how forgettable it also is.

The Postcard Killings is in theaters now.

(Photos courtesy of RLJE Films)

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