Tom Shankland’s debut is a serial killer movie with intellectual knobs on, a thought-provoking variation on themes explored in ‘Se7en’ and ‘Saw’. Scriptwriter Clive Bradley’s focus is not on the killer’s grim modus operandi, but on his twisted moral dilemma – the power of love to over-determine our instinct for self-preservation.
The torture scenes, however, are physically and emotionally distressing, so the victim’s screams sometimes drown out these quieter meditations. Grizzled cop Stellan Skarsgård and his rookie partner (Melissa George) find the body of a pregnant woman next to that of a drug dealer. The WDZ symbol carved on her swollen belly forms part of the Price Equation, which supposedly proves that human beings are incapable of altruism.
As the pairs of bodies pile up, Paul Kaye’s crazed scientist pops up to explain this, but his dialogue is incomprehensible or inaudible, or both. The performances are intense and Morton Søborg’s gritty, atmospheric cinematography recalls ’70s crime movies such as ‘The French Connection’. Sadly, the tonally uneven ‘WAZ’ cannot quite match their piercing intelligence.