WΔZ Tom Shankland - Vertigo Films By Russell Garwood UK/US production WΔZ follows the fate of detective Eddie Argo (a convincing performance from Stellan Skarsgård) investigating a series of murders. The killings are far removed from your average bludgeoning – victims always come in intimately related pairs, one electrocuted, and the other tortured to the brink or beyond. All are linked by a formula, wΔz = Cov (w,z) = ßwzVz, carved into the victims’ flesh, purported to prove that altruism does not exist in nature. Soon it becomes clear that the killer is putting these couples to the ultimate test – endure torture and death, or gain relief by killing a loved one. A stark choice, and one which ticks all the torture-porn boxes. Yet to write the film off as such is doing it a disservice, as this is more than a mere Saw[$italics] ripoff. The intelligent plot and effective pacing make for an absorbing thriller. Well-painted characters and excellent performances add further weight to the narrative, and the twist is – unlike many of WΔZ’s contemporaries – ultimately uplifiting. It is this touching, redemptive message, framed by a study of evil’s perverse power and love’s ability to atone, that really sets the film apart. Dark and gritty it may be – a feel heightened by brooding visuals and dank locations – but a welcome undertone of humanity shines through the nihilism.