Spoiler alert The movie opens with an unseen maniac chasing after a pretty woman in a nice house. The FBI gets involved in the investigation because clues point to a serial killer. Agent Kurt Novack gets a call on his cell phone from a mystery person with an evil voice. Then he goes home to his wife and son.
The killer strikes again. Same circumstances: pretty girl who has been made to look good and covered up, with a photo of the dead body that has some body part missing. Then things get strange: a similar murder occurs in Australia. For some odd reason, Novack brings his family along. Big mistake. But the wife and son have fun in view of the Opera House while Novack helps with the interrogation of a suspect. Novack believes the Australians have the wrong man, but the Australians are quite confident.
When the time comes to return home, the Novacks have their reservations switched to another plane, but at least they are given first class seats. One passenger is late, so the plane must wait. Novack's wife receives a mysterious gift which Novack realizes points to the killer. And then Novack gets a phone call from the mystery man. Other events have taken place Novack's wife and son know about, but Novack doesn't.
During the second half, things get quite tense. There are several suspects, and Novack goes overboard with every one of them (not the behavior I would expect from an FBI agent, though it is entertaining). On the ground in the United States, other agents investigate leads. The suspense level grows as the movie progresses, and sometimes things get downright frightening. The excitement level builds to a climax toward the end. It wasn't as scary as I would have been led to believe, but certainly some people would be discouraged from getting on a plane after that.
I'm not a big fan of really scary movies, so this film was just about exciting enough for me. The truly terrifying scenes on the plane could probably have been drawn out longer and made this even more of a thriller, but the mystery and the investigation itself made the movie quite interesting anyway. I'm sure this type of film has been done better, but I enjoyed it. Otherworldly music added to the terrifying moments, and one blonde woman who was held prisoner really came across as frightened. I just wish I knew the character's name. The evil voice was done quite well, too. I could tell you whose it was, but I won't.
This movie was delayed after the events of September 11, 2001. I can see why. Getting on a plane back then was already a frightening prospect.
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