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Surveillance (2008)

February. 08,2008
| Thriller
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An FBI agent tracks a serial killer with the help of three of his would-be victims - all of whom have wildly different stories to tell.


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People are voting emotionally.


Good movie but grossly overrated


The performances transcend the film's tropes, grounding it in characters that feel more complete than this subgenre often produces.

Fatma Suarez

The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful


In case you don't know, the writer/director of 'Surveillance' is Jennifer (daughter of renowned master of the surreal David) Lynch. So, if you've seen anything from Blue Velvet to Mullholland Drive (or any other of 'Daddy' Lynch's work, you'll probably know what to expect from his offspring.Like her father, she delves deep into places most of us would rather not go. Here, two FBI agents arrive in a small town, hot on the trail of a couple of wanted serial killers. Unfortunately, they're too late to stop a spree of killings, but do their best to piece together the carnage from the handful of survivors who have made it out alive.The characters are a wide and varied bunch, but, what unites them is that they're all pretty unlikable. Yes, there is a little girl who brings a touch of innocence to the film and – rightly so – she even won an award for her performance. But the rest of them are pretty dark – even the ones who you're supposed to root for! Much of the tale is told through the eyes of the survivors, making the film mainly a series of flashbacks which are open to interpretation.You get a fair amount of (what I'd call) 'Pulp Fiction-esque' dialogue which shows us more about the characters, rather than speeds the plot along. This can either work well, or drag the story along. I'm glad to say that it does the job here. Again, like her father, the dialogue is pretty cringe worthy to listen to, largely due to its content and how awkward and uncomfortable it makes the (few innocent) characters feel.However, unlike David Lynch's films, this one is a little more straight forward. His tend to be very open to interpretation, whereas Surveillance has a definitely 'beginning, middle and end.' Yes, it can be a little jumbled sometimes, but you shouldn't have any trouble keeping up, especially if you're in the mood for something very dark and twisted.


The name of the movie, as well as the cast itself, made me think it would be a good one. Yeah, alright, Julia Ormond is playing TV now and Bill Pullman didn't do much lately and Michael Ironside was always good, but in a supporting cast, but the three of them together must mean something good. Instead it was a very boring slasher movie, only the sadistic killers used all weapons at their disposal.But the problems don't stop there. Most of the characters were designed to be extremely obnoxious, so much that didn't feel real, not to mention completely unlikable. So without someone to relate to, you are left looking at boring dialogue that drags on and on and on until the big twist is being revealed.And then there is the ending, that means just about nothing. Why did I watch an hour and a half of that? What was with the completely surreal situations? Why was I subjected to the clunky dialogue? Was the movie made by sadistic killers to torture the viewers as well? I hope you never find out, because my recommendation is to avoid the move at all costs.


I rented this movie on a the recommendation that it was clever, and had a twist in the movie. Also, that it was a story based on perception of the witnesses the FBI are interviewing.Sadly, it is not clever. With today's movie, being clever means you need to fool the audience. Give them a susprise/shock with the story. This did not. I saw it coming half way through the movie, and the twist, was cliché.And as to the perception of each of the witnesses. Perception is what you believed happened. The witnesses stories weren't that at all. They simply lied.Dumb. Watchable as I did finish it (With some FFWD'ing).


I so wish I had taken the time to read the reviews here before I traumatized myself by watching this garbage. I thought that because it had some recognizable actors/actresses in it, it would have some redeeming qualities. At first, it catches your attention, because you're not exactly sure of what you're seeing. The format of showing flashbacks to previous events was used, but you were never sure of what was going on. I knew from the description that it was the point of view of three different witnesses, so I was expecting some confusion. What I wasn't expecting was how violent it turned, and without any purpose. I can handle violence if it is part of a story that makes sense, but this was too much. Then it ended as poorly as I was expecting, leaving a bitter taste for my time wasted. It actually left me feeling violated. I hope that his review will prevent somebody else from being abused by watching this trash. I have seen literally thousands of movies that are so much better than this. I'm actually shocked that somebody paid to make this movie. Bill Pullman needs to fire his agent and show better judgment in the movie roles he takes.