Director – Rob Schmidt
Year – 2008
A better film than I expected considering the reviews. Also contains an “iconic” Eliza Dushku scene.
Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku), an investigator for the Rochester Police Department, is investigating the murder of a young girl named Carla Castillo. Her body was found in the nearby village of Churchville, New York, along with traces of white cat hair. Opposing her colleagues and boyfriend Kenneth Shine (Cary Elwes), Megan insists that the murder is the work of a serial killer. Despite Megan’s considerable efforts, she fails to catch the killer. Stress and obsession over the investigation causes Megan to hallucinate the victim’s image. She ultimately has a nervous breakdown after being kicked off the case and unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide.
Following two years of medical treatment and attending a support group headed by a wheelchair-bound man named Richard Ledge (Timothy Hutton), Megan rejoins the police department in an office job. Following a similar murder of another young girl, Wendy Walsh, whose body is found in Webster along with some white cat hair, Megan successfully lobbies to rejoin the investigation. Partnered with Steven Harper (Tom Malloy), they try to find links between the victims.
Then another girl, Melissa Maestro, is killed in Macedon. They find a number of commonalities between Wendy and Melissa but fail to connect these to the first victim. The Webster Police Department, who has jurisdiction over the latest murder but are uncooperative, receive a call from 19-year-old Elizabeth Eckers who tells them she is being held hostage in a house. Megan is convinced the suspect is not the Alphabet Killer and breaks procedure to preempt a police raid. Megan almost defuses the situation but an officer shoots the suspect through a window and kills him. Webster police declare that the Alphabet Killer is dead and announce the discovery of white cat hair in the house. Megan spirals into another nervous breakdown.
Certain that the Webster police planted the evidence in order to justify killing an innocent, Megan continues the investigation on her own. Megan discovers that all three girls attended St. Michael’s Church in Rochester. Still suffering from hallucinations of the victims, Megan visits the church and tries to question the pastor but suffers another breakdown and is hospitalized.
Megan escapes the hospital and takes refuge in Ledge’s home. There, she finds out that he used to work as the math teacher for the St. Michael’s Church, which finally reveals that he is the Alphabet killer. Before she can act, he leaps from his wheelchair – having only pretended to be disabled – and attacks her. Ledge knocks her unconscious and drives to a remote spot near the Genesee River to drown her. Before Ledge can inject her with a sedative and dump her into the river, Megan breaks free and, after a struggle, shoots him in the foot with his own gun. Ledge falls into the river just past a large waterfall, though it’s unclear if he is dead or not. Unsure whether Ledge is dead and confused by her surroundings, Megan is driven by the intense situation to another, longer breakdown.
Megan is again hospitalized and kept under intensive psychiatric care. The final scenes of the film show Megan wearing a patient gown, heavily sedated and strapped to a bed in a psychiatric ward. There is no one else in the room, but in her state, she envisions the spirits of the victims waiting for her to return and seek justice for them.
The final scenes of Megan are intercut with scenes of a survived Ledge altering his appearance. He is shown in church, receiving communion and exchanging glances with a potential victim. It is unclear if these scenes of Ledge are actually occurring or are part of Megan’s psychosis.
A title card announces: “In 2006, police exhumed a fireman’s body and posthumously cleared him as a suspect. To date, the Alphabet Killer has not been found.”