Screenwriter: Clive Bradley
Running Time: 103 mins
Tuesday 21st 21:45 Cineworld
WAZ is an irritating film for anyone writing about it before they even get to see it. It’s not actually called WAZ; the middle symbol is not an A but a small triangle, the mathematical symbol for delta. However, discovering what the bizarre title means is as much work as your brain is going to have to do during this film. Bitter cop Eddie Argo (Stellan Skarsgard) and naive new partner Helen Westcott (Mellissa George) are on the trail of a serial killer who carves the titular equation onto their victims. These casualties are have one thing in common, they all took part in a gang rape years before but were never convicted because Eddie fumbled the case.
The motive is just the beginning of the woes. Apparently WAZ is the equation denoting the selfish gene in humanity, and according to scientist Dr Gelb (a gormless Paul Kaye) is proof that humans are not truly capable of love or compassion. You see, he put some monkeys and a crocodile together and when the croc ate a monkey the other primates didn’t help him. Our killer’s raison d’être is this theory and, in the true torture porn style, puts it to the test by kidnapping her victim and a family member and forces the attackers to either let themselves be killed or murder their own family member instead. I love science.
Ex-Home and Away star Melissa George gives a tough but vulnerable performance and is the only authentic thing in the film. Stellan Skarsgard’s miserable mug could have been interesting if he wasn’t a walking cliché. He’s a tough guy who lights a cigarette just as someone tells him “no smoking” and spouts such witty barbs as “stop, or I’ll blow your brains out.” One gets the feeling Rutger Hauer was too busy for this script back in the early 90s, but like a cockroach it’s managed to survive.
For its first hour WAZ is a decent shocker, with enough scares and jump to keep you overlooking the been there done that plotting. Director Tom Shankland and cinematographer Morton Soborg fuse the Fincher palette of Se7en with the murky lighting of Saw and for a while manage to keep things afloat. However once the typical genre twists and turns arrive, and we find out which Hollywood star is chewing the scenery as our serial killer, Double-You Delta Zed (to be pedantic) quickly outstays its welcome although does confirm my theory that math is evil.