The on-screen infatuation with serial killers continues with Messiah
, an absorbing, intelligent two-part BBC TV film that's a close cousin to David Fincher's Seven
. Based on the novel
by Boris Starling (who also co-wrote the screenplay), Messiah
follows Detective Chief Inspector Red Metcalfe (Ken Stott) in tracking down someone with a Christ complex in a murder-case involving 12 "Apostles". A fine line is trod in presenting enough horror so as to intrigue, but not so much as to repel. Decapitations, cut out tongues and flayed skin are all masked in shadow or reflection. More attractive to the eye is a strong cast including Edward Woodward as the case's religious consultant and the keeper of Metcalfe's wayward brother and Michelle Forbes as his deaf wife (the actress learnt sign language in six days for the part). Other notables are Ron Berglas as the unemotional expositional pathologist and Gillian Taylforth as the beleaguered wife of corruptible copper Duncan (Neil Dudgeon). With fine supporting work from Frances Grey, Jamie Draven, Art Malik and 25,000 flies, you'll be racking your brains to spot the killer. Expect to jump several times along the way.
On the DVD: a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary interviews all the key cast members on their thoughts of grisly imagery and working with one another. The producers have plenty to say on the original script and use of red herrings to distract us. Writer Boris Starling is comically talked to while in make-up as one of the victims. A few (wisely) deleted scenes, text biographies of cast and crew and a gallery of 12 photos round out the extras package. --Paul Tonks
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Featuring 'The First Killings' and 'Vengeance Is Mine', a double bill of dark and terrifying investigations for detective Red Metcalfe (Ken Stott)... ...Messiah: Series One & Two - 2-DVD Set ( Messiah I & II ) ( Messiah: Series 1 & 2 )