When did Peter Jackson go from the director who made movies with rats singing about sodomy, to the director who models his films after The Notebook? He started getting cheesy about midway through The Two Towers, and he’s reached his Spielberg-ian peak with this film.

I don’t think it’s a bad film, mind you. It’s just kind of a mess, and better served to young girls. You may worry about the sanity of a man who wants to show a movie about rape and murder to young girls, but be comforted by the fact that this film has no teeth at all. Compared to Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, which was both much more brutal AND genuinely emotional, this just feels like an empty and false Hollywood version of what should be a harrowing tale.

Having a wonderful, dreamlike afterlife, where you can ride ponies and eat cotton candy all day long. . . kinda destroys any tension in a murder plot narrative. Ooo, he might kill again! Then that girl would end up in an afterlife filled with naked sparkling vampires and free ipods. Is this a bad thing? Why is life so precious, if all the good stuff is in heaven? I guess I don’t really understand religion, either.

There are so many unintentionally hilarious moments, odd casting choices (Chief among these being Mark Wahlberg as the dad. I kept thinking of The Happening while watching the film, and was wondering when he was going to ask “Is anyone else concerned about what’s happening to the bees?”), and strange plot points that go nowhere (Other dude with the Dollhouse. What the hell?!!?). It would take forever to list them all, and most would be spoilers, but while watching this film I’m sure you could imagine me stifling laughter in the back row.

There are a couple of standout performances: Stanley Tucci is effectively creepy as the killer, and Law & Order’s Vincent D’Onofrio is great as the murdered girl’s older sister.

It’s not for all audiences, but the Twilight fans that I’m friends with might dig it.

Reverend out.