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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars I think there's more going on here than might seem to be the case, 20 Mar 2012
This review is from: Ripper [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Ripper is probably a little too big for its britches, with the filmmakers trying too hard to make a truly mind-bending thriller. Truth be told, this is really just another slasher movie - but it's a slasher film that manages to distinguish itself from other films in the genre by delivering a rather open-ended and less than cut and dried ending. Some will find it confusing, while others will enjoy comparing notes on their personal theories - and that's where the fun really begins. I find myself in the camp with those who argue that things are not as they seem, even after all the smoke clears.

Five years after she alone survived a killing spree on some island trip with her friends, Molly Keller (A.J. Cook) is in college studying, of all things, serial killers. The professor, Marshall Kane (Bruce Payne), is a former FBI profiler turned creepy college teacher who has written a book "proving" that Montague John Druitt was Jack the Ripper (just for the record, this armchair Ripperologist disagrees with that conclusion). Then, wouldn't you know it? Just when the students break out into study groups charged with getting inside the mind of a serial killer, an actual serial killer shows up and starts killing the members of one such study group, the very one that Molly belongs to - sort of. Molly, you see, has turned into a bit of a tough girl loner who doesn't work well with others and doesn't play by anybody's rules but her own. After she makes the case for this serial killer patterning his murders on those of Jack the Ripper in 1888, though, she and the gradually dwindling members of her group set out to use what they've learned in class to try and figure out a match for the killer's profile.

The plot gives you plenty of possible suspects to choose from. Could someone in the study group be taking the others out one at a time? Has Professor Kane, who basically knows more about serial killers than anyone else, snapped and gone over to the dark side? Maybe it's the stutterer who can oftentimes be found flitting around the periphery of the study group and is also the only person there who knows the story of Molly's traumatic past. And what's with the weird cop who claims to have worked the homicide case on the island five years ago and now keeps watch from the shadows as those around Molly once again fall victim to violent murder? And what of Molly herself - could she be behind this new killing spree? The filmmakers do a pretty good job of dropping red herrings and shifting the focus of suspicion from one person to the next.

I must say I was expecting more from the ending than turned out to be the case. Taken at face value, the revelation of the killer doesn't exactly make your jaw drop to the floor. Now that I've thought more about it, though, I'm liking the ending more and more. It's not often you can legitimately question the truth as it seems to be presented at the end of a film. Things are not always as they appear, and I believe important yet easy to overlook clues scattered throughout the film point to another character as the actual killer. In fact, it seems to me that the filmmakers actually intended to insert a degree of ambiguity into the story - and that's what earned the film four stars in my book.
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3.1 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
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Location: Shelby, North Carolina USA

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