EYE SEE YOU
Whatever the case, D-Tox was further evidence of Sylvester Stallones slide in public appeal. It did receive a cinematic release but was greeted with indifference and dispatched to video release within less than two months. [Its failure could well be because of such an uninspiring title rather than a serial killer thriller, it suggests either a message melodrama about the AA process or else the street name of a rapper]. Which is a shame as D-Tox is almost a good film. It is certainly one where Sylvester Stallone seems to be shucking brawn and inchoate brutality and looking in much darker directions his hero is a character who is bowed under the weight of personal traumas and, unlike most other heroes in action movies, does not shrug the death of a loved one off in five minutes or swear bloodthirsty vengeance against all involved, but someone who quite credibly falls to pieces, descends into alcoholism and is even seen trying to commit suicide.
D-Tox certainly seems a very promising one at the outset. It is directed by Jim Gillespie, who previously made the worthwhile I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). There is an attention-getting opening with a victim answering the door only to get a power drill in the eye through the peephole a set-up borrowed from Dario Argentos Opera (1987) and Sylvester Stallones federal agent attending the crime scene only to get a call from the killer who is at his house about to attack his wife. Particularly good is the look of the film all icy exteriors and a forebodingly grey cement bunker interior where cinematographer Dean Semler has done a superb job in reducing the light level to create grimly austere surroundings. The film assembles an interesting array of burned-out characters who all come with interesting shades and depths, especially good being Robert Patricks taunting military freak, with everybody lorded over by Kris Kristofferson radiating wry, leathery wisdom in the way Kristofferson only can. It is a film both in look and with its bared-open characters that seems set to enter a visually dark place of mind not unakin to serial killer thrillers like Se7en (1995) or tvs Millennium (1996-9).
Only after such a promising set-up, Jim Gillespie and the filmmakers go and totally blow it. Despite its being sold as an upmarket thriller, D-Tox emerges as no more than a slasher film with a bigger budget. After having created this interesting setting and characters, the film appears disinterested in anything more to do with them. The setting and dark look amount to absolutely nothing and the burned-out characters are of no more significance than the usual run of faceless victims in a slasher film. Indeed, Sylvester Stallone never gets to confront his personal demons, rather he just shrugs his problems off without a comment and sets about hunting down the killer. Jim Gillespie certainly keeps the film moving but never puts the characters or the twists of the plot through any kind of corkscrew. We are never breathlessly on the edge of our seats trying to figure out who the killer is, while the eventual revelation of their identity comes with surprisingly little in the way of effect.