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film review

Awakening the Zodiac

The first five minutes of David Fincher's Zodiac are just about perfect – the director smoothly tracing the July 4, 1969, murder of Darlene Ferrin to the soundtrack of Three Dog Night's Easy to Be Hard before segueing into Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man. It's a master class in tension-building and foreshadows the cinematic excellence to come.

Jonathan Wright's new cheapie horror flick Awakening the Zodiac replicates that opening scene, which is only fair, as it starts off telling the same story, that of the never-caught California serial killer. But its pedestrian execution and the general sense that you're watching a facsimile of something so much better is overwhelming – meaning it's beyond underwhelming.

Sure enough, the rest of the film is just as much a wash, Wright using the Zodiac's real back story to craft a silly (and wholly fictional) tale focusing on a modern-day couple hoping to strike it rich after stumbling on the killer's collection of home movies. You're much better off listening to Donovan on repeat.

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