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Stars: Stellan Skarsgard, Melissa George, Ashley Walters, Selma Blair, Tom Hardy, Paul Kaye, John Sharian, Sally Hawkins

Director: Tom Shankland

Bloodsoaked is the word for this deliberately darkly photographed, unrelentingly grim urban thriller, with Belfast standing in for the meaner backstreets of New York.

A woman is found electrocuted with the letters W and Z surrounding a delta triangle carved on her pregnant belly. Her boyfriend is later found hanged. It's only after a second double death that the lead cop (a rough performance by Skarsgard, whose taciturn gruffness borders on narcolepsy) realises that two of the guys are members of a gang that carried out a horrendous attack on a woman (Blair), whom they tortured and raped with a broken bottle, and on her mother, whom they tortured and murdered. Now, it seems, Blair is out for vengeance.

'I don't think our guy's gonna stop.' says Skarsgard's rookie partner (George), working out the carved symbols, 'til he gets to the end of the equation.' George does convey well the clammy fear of looking round dark corners in pursuit of a killer, and she's the only likeable character in the whole squalid affair, in which the slight Blair rather improbably kidnaps members of the gang, before torturing them into killing their nearest and dearest. Devotees of the Saw series will find that this is the kind of thing they like.

David Quinlan

UK/Ireland/USA 2006. UK Distributor: Vertigo/Pathe. Colour.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 17 Feb 2008