D-Tox was stuck in post-production hell for a couple of years, before slowly creeping out with little fanfare in various countries before a currently upcoming US video premiere release. This kind of thing really makes you ready to fear the worst – add to that the fact that the lead is Sylvester Stallone (actually comparatively watchable), & it comes to you from the director of I Know What You Did Last Summer. OK, so that film was better directed than scripted, but expectations are still not going to be too high. But D-Tox is actually reasonably entertaining fare, even if it does nothing much that we’ve not seen before.
Stallone stars as Malloy, an FBI agent on the trail of a viscous serial cop killer, who falls apart after things get too personal for him. He is convinced by his friend Hendricks (Charles S. Dutton) to check into a remote rehab clinic, run by Doc (Kris Kistofferson). But it seems that the killer has followed him…
One of the weaknesses here is that D-Tox can’t seem to quite make up its mind what it’s going to be. On one hand it seems to be trying to be a straight-up horror/slasher film, with a group of people trapped in a labyrinthine, isolated location being picked off one by one. On the other, it also feels like it wants to be a more traditional Stallone film, where he gets his gun out & engages the killer in mad fights, or at least a Stallone-does-Se7en film. The resultant film consequently feels a touch disjointed.
The snow-bound clinic is a pretty decent, albeit non-descript & somewhat unlikely location that reminds at various times of The Thing, The Shining, & Alien 3, without being as good as any of them (I should own up here to being a fan of the latter). And for the most part, this is a pretty undistinguished, run-of-the-mill film, that calls many other better ones to mind – notably in a nice piece of Opera-inspired eyeball violence – whilst not adding too much to the mix to make it stand out from the crowd. The first half is very obviously Se7en-inspired, whilst it builds up a half-decent head of steam in the generic second half, making it creep into the “Watchable” category. It’s let down however, by an unsatisfying routine conclusion, & a decidedly ho-hum reveal of the killers identity.
There are a couple of pretty strong things going for the film, such as John Powell’s propulsive score, & a mostly pretty decent cast. Sadly, none of them are given much to actually do, so Kris Kirstofferson merely rehashes his Blade persona, Robert Patrick is just aggressive, & pretty much everyone else disappears into the snow. It also seems that the film has been hacked up quite a bit in its two years on the shelf in order to maintain a brief running time, but at the expense of coherence.
Ultimately, D-Tox adds up to nothing really new enough to be really worthwhile. There are certainly worse films around, & it’s not the complete dog you might expect, I can’t really recommend it as more than an idle watch.
The UK DVD is in R2/PAL format, with boring static menus & extras consisting of a reel of deleted scenes, trailer, & a “Wrap Reel”. None of those have anything resembling any kind of explanation, commentary or whatever, but the deleted scenes would have actually helped the film somewhat had the been included, so it’s good that they’ve not been lost completely. The picture is decent enough, as you’d expect of a major studio release, although it’s clearly not up to the standard of a flagship release. Audio is better, with a really immersive Dolby 5.1 track that helps to generate the tension well.