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The Keeper
cast: Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Helen Shaver, Lochlyn Munro, and Philip Granger

director: Paul Lynch

91 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 rental
Also available to rent on video

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by John Percival
After her show, exotic dancer, Gina (Asia Argento), is viciously attacked in her motel. During the attack her boyfriend is killed but fortunately the assailant is interrupted and flees before he can kill her too. At the police station, a determined Sergeant Burns (Lochlyn Munro) takes on the case and hunts for the killer. His boss, the popular Lieutenant Krebs (Dennis Hopper) offers to drive the young woman to the bus station, but she never makes it there. Krebs drugs and kidnaps her and Gina awakes in the basement of his remote house, locked in a specially built cell. Then Krebs introduces her to his 'points system'...

The Keeper is an odd sort of film. Most of the people in it, who we would normally trust seem a little bit odd. Obviously there is Krebs who in a position of ultimate responsibility is the kidnapper. Helen Shaver's TV exec Ruthie is also completely barking mad with her priorities all-wrong. Perhaps the essence of the film is how outward appearances can be deceiving and bubbling underneath there is a sort of madness.

The film aspires to be in the same league as thrillers like Kiss The Girls or Se7en, but it falls shockingly short. Even a heavyweight name like Dennis Hopper who has made many memorable performances, as a bad guy, cannot do anything for a story that is essentially weak. Quite simply The Keeper is afraid to push the limits or shock the audience and in that it provides nothing new.

Yes, the policeman kidnapped the girl and put her in a cage, but Krebs is nowhere near menacing enough for us to believe that his captive is in any real mortal danger. After all with the 'standard' twisted upbringing he had, evil strict dad and loose stripper mother, he only seems to want to put Gina on a more wholesome path through rewards for good behaviour. So he is not getting any disturbing sexual jollies out of it, he appears to be more of an overzealous Samaritan. Things only get a little nasty when Helen Shaver appears on the scene as the possible saviour of Gina but joins Krebs because she loves him.

The pace is slow and the conclusion foreseeable early enough in the film for this to only really be a light thriller. For that it is probably worth a Saturday afternoon watching when there is nothing else on. It is not really a bad film; it is just not a particularly good one either. Shame really.

Extras on the disc include a trailer plus cast and director interviews.
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