Originally written for Horrorfest 2012:
Peering into the soul and heart of a monster often ends with the innocent doing the searching becoming the very thing they were hunting. So goes the warning, which Will keeps in mind as he desperately pursues a serial killer on the lose, a man who slaughters his victims without warning. This chase could not only cost Will his life, but also his soul, a fact that he keeps in mind despite not abandoning the chase or holding off even though his wife, his friend and colleague, and others warn him. Obsession is sometimes a dangerous and powerful motivator, despite the risks involved. Chasing someone who kills due to it being in their nature is the same as joining the locals on a safari hunt for a tiger that feeds on humans. The animal just might wrap its jaws around your neck and squeeze.
This feeling of paranoia, of searching for a madman is expertly showcased through well shot and lit scenes. The amazing use of color, the framing of shots, all underlying the mind and psyche of the film’s characters. The deliciously 80s soundtrack, lush and electronic, only further homes in that point, the rather bleak chase leading Will towards the so called “Tooth Fairy,” a man who views himself as more than just a human being consisting of flesh and blood. Hannibal Lecktor is present in this film, yet he serves as a mere vessel for the main killer, who looks to him as a master teacher in the art of inflicting pain upon others. One man only comes to realize too late that he is to be another example of how easy the task of human slaughter comes to certain people.
Buried within all of the chaos is a fine philosophical discussion, particularly in a scene between Hannibal and Will in which Hannibal imparts his so called “Words of Wisdom.” The survival of the human race feels at stake here, the battle for its very soul hanging in the balance, boiled down to a cop, a woman, and a killer. That essence drives Manhunter, makes it more than just a typical slasher movie, and is why it is the direct equal to the also excellent Silence of The Lambs. In fact, one could argue that this movie is the better of the two, diving into the bleak heart of human nature. Man is both darkness and light, the two of them coexisting within, and perhaps only in women lies salvation.