By Christopher Null
Looking to delve into the smarmy underbelly of hard-core porn, even snuff filmmaking? Well, 8MM isn't going to take you there. 8MM (Eight Millimeter) is something of a joke, and reports of how "disturbing" it is are highly overrated. As horror, 8MM didn't even give me a jump. As an over-the-top "think about this!" piece, 8MM is even less successful. Why? The film's premise (rich widow hires Cage, P.I., to investigate whether her husband's secreted snuff film is real or not) is wholly unbelievable because, as the audience, you know the film isn't real. The dead girl has a credit at the end, for God's sake!
Throw in a story that rambles along in typical Schumacher fashion without much direction (with Cage turning vigilante in the last 40 minutes of film) and you've got a real dud. The prime example: as it turns out, everybody but Nic recognizes the killer in the film after they see it -- making his weeks of searching the missing persons archives for the ID of the girl (and an hour of screen time) useless. Some of the characters are memorable, notably Phoenix as "Max California," porn expert, but overall this is one for which we needn't pray for a sequel.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 26th February 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $96.6M
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Production compaines: Columbia Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 61
Cast & Crew
Starring: Nicolas Cage as Tom Welles, Joaquin Phoenix as Max California, James Gandolfini as Eddie Poole, Chris Bauer as George Higgins, Anthony Heald as Daniel Longdale, Peter Stormare as Dino Velvet, Catherine Keener as Amy Welles, Norman Reedus as Warren Anderson, Amy Morton as Janet Mathews, Jenny Powell as Mary Ann Mathews, Claudia Aros as Miami Girlfriend, Mario Ernesto Sánchez as Taxi Driver, Suzy Nakamura as Computer Wizard, William Lawrence Mack as Larry, Myra Carter as Mrs. Christian