Super-clean cop John Hobbes (Washington) unleashes evil spirit 'Azazel' when he sends a serial killer (Koteas) to the chair. Unlike Morgan Freeman's learned sleuth in Seven, the parochial Hobbes is convinced that cops are 'the chosen people'. Having captured the killer, he appears on TV smug and smiling. Things turn intriguing, however, when later his attention is drawn to the biblical injunction 'Hide your good works.' His consequent fear that the whole city is against him is straddled between paranoia and intuition. Azazel's spirit is passed along by touch: in a crowded, aggressive city (Philadelphia), anyone can turn nasty. On a metaphorical level, this makes sense - AIDS and a fear of the city are central to the '90s. But God (or the Devil) is in the detail: every time a fluid is taken into the body, the fidgety camera zooms in, fascinated, suspicious. Excellent support from Davidtz, Goodman, and Joy, as Hobbes' brother, though as the plot twists take precedence over character, much of the film's nuance trickles away and, along with it, the tension.
Cast and crew