It’s usually quite difficult to pull me out of my happy little rut, especially with movies. When I was recommended Surveillance my alarms went off immediately. I was certain it would not be even remotely scary and akin watching an over baked episode of CSI; how wrong I was.
With a pair of vicious killers on the loose in a remote area, FBI agents Hallaway & Anderson (Bill Pullman & Julie Ormond) are lucky enough to have three survivors that they can dredge for information. There’s a little girl Stephanie (Ryan Simpkins), the coke-addicted Bobbi (Pell James) and crooked police officer Bennett (Kent Harper). Despite them being polar opposites they all have a few things in common; they all lost loved ones at the hands of the killers and they were all inexplicably spared. They are interviewed separately while agent Hallaway watches thought cameras to peck at the bones of the survivors and expose the truth. Each gives a rose-tinted view of the events preceding their unfortunate contact with the killers but luckily for us we get to see what really happened through flashbacks as the three survivors lone journeys intertwine with each other and then that of the murderers. The agents must use what they’ve learned from each of them to piece together what happened a before the mysterious killers strike again.
The most interesting aspect of this film is the surviving witnesses and their intense urges to protect their characters despite their burgeoning sociopathic tendencies and lack of moral fibre. They were not spared because of their goodness or innocence but by an apparent coincidence or a well design jibe directed at the police who they have evaded for so long. Stephanie’s mature position and refreshing frankness is a tonic to the others delusions and blatant lying and it’s interesting to see agent Andersons increasing emotional attachment to the orphaned girl and it’s detrimental effect on the interviewing process.
The shift in point of views is handled expertly and is neither confusing nor disorientating, rather layered snippets of each of the survivor’s stories, tying the three plots together with the scenes at the station anchoring the film to the present. I’m not going to give anything about the ending away, but I can assure you that it’s both unexpected and vastly entertaining; you won’t see it coming and you most certainly won’t want to miss it.
This was a lesson for me to not let my prejudices’ get in the way of my viewing experience, because if I had given this a miss I would certainly have missed out.
Video sourced from Youtube.