aka The Crimson Code
Director – Jeremy Haft, Screenplay – Alex Metcalf, Producers – Paul Colichman & Mark R. Harris, Photography – Ian Elkin, Music – Ken Williams, Visual Effects – Frantic Films Inc, Special Effects – Unreel Effects. Production Company – Regent Entertainment Productions/John Aaron Productions Inc
Patrick Muldoon (Jason Chandler), Cathy Moriarty (Stephanie Dobson), Tim Thomerson (William Haywood), C. Thomas Howell (J.B. Gaines), Fred Ward (Randall Brooks), Victor Cowie (Director Wexler)
Jason Chandler, an agent attached to the FBI’s Serial Killer Apprehension Team, makes the discovery that suspected serial killers are somehow being eliminated. Evidence suggests that it is not by accident either and Chandler realises that there is a killer who is targeting serial killers. When he approaches SKAT leader William Haywood with this information, he is invited to join the crack Red Team who are charged with apprehending serial killers. While out in the field with them, Chandler sees Red Team deliberately throw a suspected paedophile off a bridge. Realising that Red Team are the ones killing the suspected serial killers, Chandler tries to take a stand. However, this has him labelled as dangerous and then hunted by his colleagues. To clear his name, he must team up with the serial killer that is Red Team’s next intended target.
This serial killer thriller was originally made for theatrical release but languished in distribution limbo for nearly two years before finally making an unnoticed appearance on video. In some ways, it is a passable thriller. It is nicely photographed, with the Alberta locations offering up a series of wintry exteriors and dour downbeat interiors that give the film some atmosphere. Even if it has B-list actors, including B-movie regulars Tim Thomerson and C. Thomas Howell, it seems not too badly cast. Playing a serial killer, C. Thomas Howell looks wonderfully sinister, his boyish looks for once set aside and he given wireframe glasses and a shaven head. Patrick Muldoon makes a convincing lead. Cathy Moriarty, an actress who should have been a bigger name than she is, has a wonderfully throaty vamp-like quality (although the relationship between her and Patrick Muldoon has an improbable and obvious age gap. Even though she’s only eight years older than him in real life, she seems to be in her mid-forties, while he looks as though he is only in his late twenties).
When it comes to its premise however, Red Team falls down completely. The idea of a rogue unit within the FBI eliminating serial killers has and is presented with no conviction. Very quickly, the film falls into conspiracy clichés. Cathy Moriarty is made to perform one completely unbelievable twist of character midway through. The film never concerns itself with examining the moral complexities of the situation – although there is a certain appeal to the scenes where Patrick Muldoon must team up with C. Thomas Howell’s serial killer to take on the Red Team for their own mutual survival. Even funnier are the film’s woefully misinformed hacker scenes – like the daft idea of a having a countdown for a hacker to avoid being spotted by an electronic trace.
Director Jeremy Haft who had previously made the children’s film Grizzly Mountain (1997) wherein two kids are transported back to the 19th Century and subsequently went onto make Tamara (2005) about a high school girl returned from the dead seeking vengeance.