This is the strangest and scariest serial-killer movie I’ve seen in a long while because the maniac in question, Vann Siegert (Owen Wilson), is also a very normal, gentle, soft spoken blond young man that you wouldn’t hesitate to accept as a tenant if you were a landlord.
Actually that’s what Jane and Doug Durwin (Mercedes Ruehl and Brian Cox) exactly do when this good looking charmer from Oregon shows up at their door, inquiring about their room for rent. Vann looks so self-effacing and clean cut that they accept him as a tenant, not knowing that Vann has already killed a heroin shooting loser (Sheryl Crow) that he met at a bar on his way down to that small American town.
As the film unfolds, we not only realize the depth of Vann’s depravity but also reach a conclusion just as chilling – Vann is killing people not out of any obvious malice but as if he is conducting an experiment, with a cool and collected focus and sharp timing, with an attention to the details that would be admired by any research scientist.
“Some people die in less than a minute. Others, it takes ten,” Vann meditates aloud. “I guess it’s what they call metabolic. If it wasn’t closed, I’d go to the library and get clear on this.” Goosebumps.
After finding himself a job as a postal worker through the graces of the equally-troubled Doug, bodies start to pile up right and left, all sent to the other world with a potent poison derived from the bark of a tree that grows along the Oregon coast.
(To continue in Part 2.)