Mr Brooks (Kevin Costner) works in a cardboard box factory, but also murders women, photographs their corpses, then feeds the pictures into a furnace in his family home’s basement while prancing around naked. Demi Moore is Tracy Atwood, the detective hot on Mr Brooks’ trail, a millionairess who fights crime to ease the anxieties caused by her painful divorce. William Hurt plays Marshall, Mr Brooks’ constant companion who is invisible to others because he’s actually just a figment of Mr Brooks’ imagination, Pete’s Dragon-style. And that’s just the backstory to this ludicrous thriller from writer/director Bruce Evans.
The Robin Hood star’s opening salvo depicts a crisis-point in Mr Brooks’ life, created when the meticulous psychopath makes the schoolboy error of forgetting to close the curtains while slaughtering an innocent woman. That gives passing psychopath Mr Smith (Dane Cook) the opportunity to blackmail Mr Brooks, but rather than extorting money from our anti-hero, the repressed pervert next door requests a few introductory lessons in killing. In a further twist, Mr Brooks finds it hard to concentrate on his new mentor role, due to a series of killings at his daughter’s school which suggest that his serial killing gene may have somehow been passed to her …
Mr Brooks is a hysterical, risible mess of a thriller, and yet its compelling brand of silliness may well grant it a second life as a cult classic.