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Mindhunters (2004) is a murder mystery by the director Renny Harlin. It centers around a group of FBI's criminal profiler trainees who are sent to a remote island as part of a special training event designed by their instructor Jake Harris, played by Val Kilmer. The trainees are supposed to catch a fictional serial killer called "The Puppeteer" but the situation quickly turns for the worse once a real killer starts picking off the trainees.

The plot of Mindhunters is much like Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None, although the audiences mostly saw this as blatant unoriginality. Mindhunters ultimately ended up being a flop, keeping in line with the director's past achievements.


This film provides examples of the following:

  • Badass: Gabe.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Played with. Gabe is believed to be the killer for most of the movie, and is one of only two survivors. Nicole, the only other minority (though not explicitly stated as one, her distinct Latin accent gives her away) survives for a good chunk of the movie.
  • The Chessmaster: The mysterious killer.
  • Death Trap: The preferred method of the mysterious killer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gabe, Bobby, and Rafe.
  • Divide and Conquer: The strategy used by the killer when there are only three survivors left.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: The killer.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt Montage
  • Fair Weather Mentor: Jake Harris.
  • Foreshadowing: A major but subtle instance. Agent Jensen describes Lucas as having an addictive personality. He's addicted to killing.
    • Actually, considering that the method of death is directly linked to the person's personality, this entire movie is foreshadowing from the get-go. The first two to three scenes set up the entire shaky house of cards. The only death that isn't really forshadowed is Headless Coffee Guy
  • Ghost Town: The island. It's populated by plastic mannequins dressed as people to simulate a real town.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The killer's motive and a rare example of a psychological hunt rather than an outright physical hunt
  • Hollywood Acid: Laced in a cigarette, which eats Nicole alive.
  • It Gets Easier
  • Ontological Mystery: The movie has definite shades of this. The characters do know why they're on a secluded island: as part of an FBI profiler training exercise. It doesn't take long before they're completely cut of from the outside world and it turns out that there's a killer amongst them who starts murdering them one by one.
  • Plot Hole: After repeatedly remarking that the simulation "doesn't feel real" without his gun, Vince pulls out and dramatically cocks a gun and he'd concealed in his wheelchair. All the other characters berate him for this, as they'd been specifically told not to bring weapons. However, just minutes earlier, Nic and LL Cool J's character can clearly be seen bearing handguns as they carry JD's corpse.
  • Post Mortem One Liner: "I guess we know what his weakness is....bullets."
  • The Profiler: Only Harris is an actual profiler, the rest are trainees.
  • Profiling: And how!
  • Motifs: Time.
  • Red Herring: Jake Harris, and arguably Gabe.
  • See Water: The final underwater gunfight is a particularly egregious case of this.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The killer.
  • Serial Killer: A fictional one and a real one.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Not ostensibly focused upon but present in some form or another, nonetheless, and basically end up being what do most of the characters in:
    • Lust: Nicole's need for cigarettes; Plus she's sleeping with J.D. and somewhat comes onto Gabe.
    • Gluttony: Rafe's a coffee junkie.
    • Envy: Lucas, who admits he's jealous of how cool and calculated, yet clueless FBI agents seem after they overlook him as a suspect in his parents' murder. Albeit, he was just a kid when he offed them. Also Vince, somewhat. In addition to being bitter about his condition and the fact that he's not making profiler, he decides to drag Sarah's hopes down by revealing that she won't, either. Plus, he's never without his gun
    • Wrath: The killer obviously has this in spades. That aside, everyone pulls a gun on everybody else for most of the movie and Nicole takes this one to the next level when she suspects Sarah of being the killer.
    • Pride: J.D. always has to take the lead; Lucas paraphrases Wolverine: "I'm the best at what I do."; Bobby is a mechanical/technical whiz and readily flaunts this.
    • Greed: Gabe doesn't approve of how taxpayers' (apparently including his) hard-earned dollars are spent.
    • Sloth: Aside from J.D., no one lifts a finger to help Nicole prepare dinner. Particularly frowning on Gabe here, since he's basically an unexpected and uninvited guest.
  • Spanner in the Works: Gabe Jensen
  • Take That: In-universe example: the Navy has left a bunch of rubber ducks floating around with geeky glasses and 'FBI' scrawled on them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When you're in the death house, a place that is clearly booby-trapped that has already killed two people (and tried to kill more), under no circumstances do you pick up a random pack of cigarettes you find lying around.
    • On that note, you probably shouldn't be wandering around said death house alone, either, nor should you desert the only other people in the place, considering one of the people you're leaving behind is trying to kill you and knows where the next trap is.
    • It's chemistry 101 that water neutralizes acid. So let's say you fail to abide the previous guidelines (ahem, Nicole, ahem)and smoke said cigarettes to discover that they are acid-laced. Should you happen to be standing at the edge of a Navy diving pool when this occurs (ahem again Nicole), then don't waste time floundering around in agony and reaching for help that can't reach you from the other side of the pool. For Heaven's sake, JUMP YOUR BUTT IN THE FRIGGING POOL! Geez.
      • Unless it was hydrochloric acid that you inhaled, in which case you're ish outta luck either way.
  • Torture Cellar: The grim fate of Jake Harris.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims
  • Xanatos Roulette: How did the killer know they'd all decide to drink coffee, all at the same time, and all drink enough of it so they'd remain asleep for the same length of time? How did the killer know that Nicole would pass a cigarette machine and then give in to her craving? How did the killer know that JD or Bobby wouldn't simply get out of the way of their respective traps? etc., etc., etc.
  • Unknown Assailant
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Nicole Willis
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