When Anna (Milla Jovovich), a primary school teacher (or elementary school teacher, as our friends across the Atlantic call them) is attacked by a serial killer after witnessing him commit a murder, she suffers severe brain damage due to a trauma to the head. As a result, she starts to suffer from prosopagnosia, a disorder which distorts face perception, rendering her unable to recognise the faces of even her partner, dad, closest friends and colleagues.
This may have been an interesting premise had the film not abandoned subtlety for crude horror gimmicks. Instead of compellingly investigating the condition, the script becomes obsessed with the threat the serial killer (who remains still at large throughout the movie) may pose to Anna. It becomes a rather strange sort of who-dun-it, and not a very convincing one at that. Jovovich is a passable actress, and this may well be her most interesting performance to date. It’s a shame the script is so clunky.
Anna’s condition is conveyed to the audience by the switching of different actors in the supporting roles, so the audience cannot identify who is who any more than she can. This is an interesting trick, but can’t save the film from drowning in a pit of mundane hysteria.
Faces in the Crowd (2011), directed by Julien Magnat, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Metrodome Group Ltd, certificate 15.