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The Truth is more horrid than Screenplay
on June 10, 2012
There is an area known as the "killing fields" in Texas, where 30 girls and young women have turned up dead since the 1970s. This stretch of land runs along I-45 between Houston and Galveston, Texas and is the bloodiest stretch of highway in America. Here are the basics on the murders that have haunted the area for decades. Just 50 miles long, over the past 38 years nearly 40 women and young girls have been murdered or vanished along this highway. Their bodies have been dumped in fields, parks and the many bodies of water in the area, usually in a sickening state. As of today, the killer is still on the loose. And detectives admit, they're no closer to catching him--although scientific advances could finally end the macabre dance of death. He first struck June 17, 1971. Colette Wilson, 13, had been dropped off from school band practice by the conductor at a bus stop. The young girl seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. Five months later her nude body was discovered 40 miles away. She died of a single gunshot wound to the head and her flute was never located.
The story is grim and unfortunately so is the film version written by Don Ferrarone, a federal agent who investigated the slaughters, who has said `If you can just imagine having one of these little girls out here...one of these young girls out here...and there's no chance for them to be rescued, to be helped. And they're on they're own.' It was the haunting faces of the lost that inspired Ferrarone to write the screenplay for the film.
The story for the film changes the names of everyone. Mike Souder (Sam Worthington), a homicide detective in a small Texan town, Texas City, and his partner, transplanted New York City cop Brian Heigh (Jefffrey Dean Stanton), track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals called 'The Killing Fields'. Though the swampland crime scenes are outside their jurisdiction, Heigh is unable to turn his back on solving the gruesome murders. Despite his partner's warnings, he sets out to investigate the crimes. Before long, the killer changes the game and begins hunting the detectives, teasing them with possible clues at the crime scenes while always remaining one step ahead. When familiar local girl Anne (Chloë Grace Moretz) goes missing, the detectives find themselves racing against time to catch the killer and save the young girl's life. That much of the plot is linear, but the sidebars of the local cop (Jessica Chastain, in a completely unnecessary tiny role) who happens to be the ex-wife of Souder, the stopover in a house of prostitution for young girls, the smarmy family of suspects, and other incidentals simply clot the plot and make the dark film (mood as well as lack of light) even more difficult to follow. Worthington and Morgan offer good performance with the poor script they are given, but in the end nothing is resolved and the director finds the need of adding a happy-wappy resolution which is completely out of place. Grady Harp, June 12