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Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Denzel Washington,
Running time 116 minutes
NOTORIOUS serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas) is dead. Homicide detectives John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) and his partner Jonesy (John Goodman) apprehended him and watched his demise (which he faced with characteristic panache) in the gas chamber. So how is it that a series of grisly killings are taking place, baring all the hallmarks of the demonic Reese's bizarre murder methods?
Hobbes' superior, Lieutenant Stanton (Donald Sutherland), believes that either a copycat killer or a less-than-honest cop is at work, and begins to uncover evidence which points to Hobbes' involvement. But Hobbes has different ideas. He starts receiving phone calls following each murder, from someone sounding like uncannily like Reese. Sensing unnatural forces at work he seeks help from theology professor Gretta Milano (Matilda's Embeth Davidtz), a young woman with a tragic past which may help cast light on Hobbes' current situation. Through Gretta's knowledge of the Supernatural and occult Hobbes realizes that what he is up against is not your average, everyday psycho, but a force as old as Time itself, a force not bound by human constraints.
Fallen is one of those films where the good and bad points pretty much cancel each other out, resulting in something mediocre. It is stylish, tense and, yes, has its fair share of genuinely flesh-crawling sequences. On the flipside it is predictable, unoriginal and, in the case of one particular character, embarrassingly unnecessary.
By Cleaver Patterson
By Dean Koontz
Published by Headline
373pp £16.99 h/b
After another journey into reprint territory early last year for Koontz (when a revised edition of his novel Demon Seed was published) it's back to the mainstream thriller with his new novel Fear Nothing.
The title is strange as it seems to have little to do with the book - 'Fear nothing' is whispered to the book's hero by his father on his deathbed. These turn out to be faintly ironic as Chris, the hero, discovers that far from fearing nothing, he has to fear just about everything and everyone. In typical Koontz fashion, Chris is a very different sort of hero. He suffers from xeroderma
pigmentosum, a rare genetic disorder that means that his skin and eyes cannot be exposed to sunlight. This affliction actually has little to do with the bulk of the novel - it just makes Chris more interesting a person. What it does allow Koontz to do, however, is to continue the roller-coaster theme of his previous novel Intensity and to set Fear Nothing over two nights. The majority of Fear Nothing takes place in a single night, at the start of which which Chris's father dies, setting in motion a chain of events which takes Chris from the hospital to the mortuary; to a chase by armed men and helicopters; to the home of a nurse who is then brutally murdered; to his best friend's home and so on. All the while he and his canine companion are trailed and watched by strange monkey-like creatures, apparently escaped from a nearby government research complex.
As Chris discovers the truth about the legacy that has been left him by his parents, so does the reader, and the novel hurtles, as unstoppable as an express train, to its somewhat bleak, if interesting climax.
Koontz is one of the best thriller writers working today. His work effortlessly straddles the boundary between popular thriller and popular Horror, with a healthy dose of Science Fiction thrown in as well. His books are read by people who would vehermently claim that they never read Horror or Science Fiction.
Perhaps not as emotionally gripping as the rightly named Intensity, Fear Nothing is guaranteed unputdownable and you may never venture out into the fog alone again.
By David Howe