Film

Repetitive Thriller Enter the Dangerous Mind Has Too Many Rote Beats Per Minute

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As indicated by its title’s weak quasi-pun, Enter the Dangerous Mind riffs on the ubiquitous musical form EDM (a/k/a electronic dance music) as popularized by the likes of Skrillex and David Guetta. Yet it quickly becomes clear that the genre is being used by co-directors Youssef Delara and Victor Teran as little more than a trendy hook upon which to hang a narratively repetitive thriller suffused with movie-psycho clichés.

A wild-eyed yet nondescript Jake Hoffman (Dustin’s son) stars as Jim, a twitchy, reclusive beatmaker saddled with a Tyler Durden–esque imaginary buddy (Thomas Dekker) who pumps crassly misogynist invective into his ear. Jim briefly finds succor in a potential relationship with an inexplicably supportive social-work student (Nikki Reed), but one premature ejaculation later, he spirals into a series of violent outbursts filmed with gratuitous relish.

Despite its pretensions to social awareness — most clearly embodied in Scott Bakula’s concerned-caseworker character — the film displays a luridly exploitative attitude toward mental illness. Its central mystery, the reason for Jim’s psychological malaise, hinges upon a nasty childhood trauma that’s handled with zero sensitivity.

At least the technical credits are competent. The L.A. settings are captured with a woozy, slick digital sheen, while some inventive sound design abstracts quotidian noises (dogs barking, doors closing) into sources of menace. There’s also a neat sting in the tail, but that’s not enough to militate against a script that coasts along on far too many rote beats per minute.

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