DVD Release Date:  October 23, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: June 1, 2007
Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language)
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Run Time: 120 min.
Director: Bruce A. Evans
Actors: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, and Danielle Panabaker

Mr. Brooks is the story of a man (Kevin Costner) who leads quite the exciting double life. By day, he’s a successful businessman and loving, praying husband. By night, he’s a cold, creepy, twisted murderer with an elaborate system that feeds his addiction to casual killings. 

The story is played out in a way that dances on the line between terrifying believability and over-the-top, almost comic-book-like-splatter film outrageousness.  In that tone, perhaps we should look at some important lessons the movie teaches us—the first of which apply to wives.  (Please hum the shower scene violin music score from Psycho as you direct your attention to my cyber whiteboard.)

First, if you are the wife (Marg Helgenberger) of a husband who is “Man of the Year” and a successful millionaire by day, but who goes off to mysterious meetings at night and climbs back into bed at wee hours in the morning with lame excuses about doing pottery, please follow Ronald Reagan’s Cold War advice: “Trust but verify.”  Take the headphones off, get out of your fancy gym and follow him! 

If he says he’s going to church, check out his meeting once in a while!  If he’s going to a 12-step program but has no other signs of alcohol, drug, or food abuse, perhaps he’s a murder addict!  Would it kill you to check out the “pottery” furnace in the basement and figure out what’s really being burned in there? 

Think, ladies! Are there any hollow walls in your home, which could possibly be large closets that store an array of black murder garb, guns, ammunition, lock-picking devices, fake IDs and the like?  Let’s not just cluelessly dust around these places anymore!

Secondly, if your husband is always adjusting his rear view mirror and glancing anxiously behind him, perhaps he has an invisible friend (William Hurt) who is telling him to go ahead and scope out the next murder victims—usually an attractive couple.  Perhaps the friend is compelling him to feed his addiction by killing lovers in the middle of sex acts, positioning their bodies in interesting ways, then photographing them.  Check out what “working late” really means to your guy!

Thirdly, if the news is always showing a beautiful, high-profile detective (Demi Moore) who can’t ever seem to find certain local murderers, and if your own daughter (Danielle Panabaker), who intently wants to take over your multi-ga-jillion dollar business, finds herself in the midst of murder scandals as well, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee!

And finally, a few words of wisdom for us all.  If you hear about a movie that stars Kevin Costner and assume that the protagonist will be a peace-loving guy like in Dances with Wolves, a disarming golf star as in Tin Cup, or a romantic lead as in Message in a Bottle, think again!  There’s a powerful “sick and creepy” factor in Mr. Brooks’s character.  

So, if you’re wondering what the best way would be to spend $10 and an evening, and the choices are a) go to a disturbing psychological thriller that will fill your gray matter with ample supplies of obscenities, profanities, blood, guts, sex, inventive murder, etc. or b) order a pizza for the family, well. . . .  Need I say more?

There’s a cost to the thrill in a lot of thrillers these days, and Mr. Brooks may exact a high toll in the form of nightmares.  Consider yourself warned.

AUDIENCE:  Adults only

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Light.
  • Language: Excessive, with about three dozen obscenities and profanities.
  • Sex: Overt, with nude couple being murdered while having sex; photographs shown of murdered couples, etc.
  • Violence: Excessive, with numerous shootings, stabbings, hacking people with a knives, a hatchet, kidnappings, terror, etc. 
  • Other: Lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, voyeurism, etc.
  • Worldview: Anti-Christian, i.e. Your sins will NOT find you out. Church will NOT help you. Twelve-step addiction programs are powerless. You can pray “The Serenity Prayer” as often as you’d like, and you can chant desperate prayers to God, but they’ll be of no avail for a serious addiction. One person can be an abortion opponent and a serial killer. It is a thrilling, exciting game to murder people. Go with those thoughts but be clever when you cover your tracks.