Surveillance (2008) Poster

Surveillance (2008)

  • Rate: 6.4/10 total 10,261 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 17 July 2008 (Portugal)
  • Runtime: 97 min
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Surveillance (2008)


Surveillance 2008tt0409345.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Surveillance (2008)
  • Rate: 6.4/10 total 10,261 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 17 July 2008 (Portugal)
  • Runtime: 97 min
  • Filming Location: Canada Saskatchewan Production Studios, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Budget: $3,500,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $25,352(USA)(26 July 2009)
  • Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
  • Stars: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman and Pell James
  • Original Music By: Todd Bryanton   
  • Soundtrack: Speed Roadster
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Interview | FBI Agent | Murder | Motel | Bandaged Hand

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Kent Harper  writer
  • Jennifer Chambers Lynch  (as Jennifer Lynch)

Known Trivia

  • According to Jennifer Chambers Lynch, the film was originally about witches.
  • Director Jennifer Chambers Lynch’s first film in 15 years.
  • For the first time in the seven year run of the New York City Horror Film Festival, Jennifer Chambers Lynch became the first female to win the Best Director award and Ryan Simpkins became the youngest actress to win Best Actress.
  • Billy Burke was originally cast as the character Sam Hallaway. Days before filming was to begin, he dropped out of the film. Lynch family friend Bill Pullman was then cast to replace him.
  • The song during the roll of end credits, is sung by the director’s father, David Lynch (‘Speed Roaster’).

Goofs: Miscellaneous: The closing credits state that the cast is listed in alphabetical order, but Daryl Haney's name is listed after Kent Harper, Michael Ironside, and Pell James (despite the fact that it precedes all of them alphabetically).

Plot: Two FBI agents attempt to clarify the murders occurring in a desolate region. They approach the witnesses of the latest incident with the help of the local police. All of them hide something and all have wildly different stories to tell. Full summary »  »

Story: Grisly murders occur in a small town. Two FBI agents arrive, set up their cameras in three interview rooms, and set up interviews of three survivors: a girl of about nine, a foul-mouthed cop with a bandaged hand, and a young woman of about 20 who uses drugs. Each tells their story as the male FBI agent listens and watches from a separate room: the girl draws for and talks to the female agent, the local chief interviews the injured cop, and two officers interview the young woman. As they tell their stories, some of which are inaccurate and self-serving, we see what actually happened the day before. Can the agents or anyone else put the pieces together?Written by <>  


Synopsis: Somewhere deep inside the Santa Fe desert there have been a number of blood curdling murders…a real killing spree. The local police station is in disarray. Captain Billings, Officers Degrasso and Wright have apprehended three witnesses: Officer Jack Bennet, one of their own, tough, but affected by recent events; Bobby, young, high as a kite on cocaine; and Stephanie, eight years old, who has just witnessed her family being brutally murdered by two figures dressed in jumpsuits, gloves, boots, and horrifyingly disfiguring latex masks. The FBI is now involved, and as the witnesses tell their stories one by one to the FBI agents who have now taken over, the murderous events unravel before our eyes. It becomes clear, however, that little Stephanie knows something more. And then three more bodies have been found…


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Rhonda Baker known as line producer
  • Gill Gayle known as associate producer: FSP
  • Jeff Geoffray known as co-executive producer
  • Gary Hamilton known as co-executive producer
  • Kent Harper known as producer
  • Walter Josten known as co-executive producer
  • David Lynch known as executive producer
  • Bernd Mehlitz known as associate producer: Lago Film
  • Marco Mehlitz known as producer
  • David Michaels known as producer
  • Stephen Onda known as co-producer
  • Robert C. Romanus known as associate producer: FSP
  • Shane Dax Taylor known as associate producer: FSP

FullCast & Crew:

  • Caroline Aaron known as Janet
  • Hugh Dillon known as Dad (Steven)
  • David Gane known as Grocery Man
  • Gill Gayle known as Officer Degrasso
  • Kent Harper known as Officer Jack Bennett
  • Michael Ironside known as Captain Billings
  • Pell James known as Bobbi Prescott
  • Daryl Haney known as Drug Dealer (as D.R. Haney)
  • Shannon Jardine known as Elaine Meyer
  • Angela Lamarsh known as Maid
  • Gerald Lenton-Young known as Coroner (as Gerald Layton-Young)
  • Jennifer Miles known as TV Reporter
  • Mac Miller known as Johnny
  • Charlie Newmark known as Officer Wright
  • Julia Ormond known as Elizabeth Anderson
  • Cheri Oteri known as Mom
  • Bill Pullman known as Sam Hallaway
  • Ryan Simpkins known as Stephanie
  • Anita Smith known as Tina
  • French Stewart known as Officer Jim Conrad
  • Josh Strait known as Keith
  • Kent Nolan known as David (as Kent Wolkowski)
  • Kyle Briere known as Curtis (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Lisa Campbell known as co-key hair stylist (as Lisa Campbell-Buteau)
  • Jennifer Forberg known as assistant makeup artist
  • Tracy George known as makeup department head
  • Brentyn Krekoski known as assistant makeup artist (as Brent Krekoski)
  • Kaitlyn Rae known as daily assistant makeup artist
  • Zinka Shankland known as key hair stylist

Art Department:

  • Shelly Bowes-Cherry known as art department coordinator (as Shelly Bowes)
  • Adrienne Conley known as set designer
  • Lee Kolenick known as props
  • Mark Montague known as storyboard artist
  • Adrian Traquair known as set dresser
  • Johann Wessels known as lead scenic artist




Production Companies:

  • Lago Film (presents)
  • See Film
  • Film Star Pictures (in association with)
  • Blue Rider Pictures (presents)
  • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) (produced with the assistance of)
  • SaskFilm (produced with the assistance of)
  • Saskatchewan Employment Tax Credit Program (produced with the assistance of)
  • Stephen Onda Productions

Other Companies:

  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • Dragon Digital Intermediate  on-line conform and film-out (trailer)
  • Film Finances Canada  completion guarantor


  • Alfa Films (2010) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • European Film Partners (EFP) (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Fine Films (2010) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Nikkatsu (2010) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Odeon Sky Filmworks (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • CatchPlay (2010) (Taiwan) (all media)
  • Compagnia Distribuzione Internazionale (CDI) (2008) (Italy) (all media)
  • David Distribucion (2008) (Mexico) (all media)
  • Film1 (2009) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Filmes Castello Lopes (2008) (Portugal) (all media)
  • Future Film (2009) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Happinet Pictures (2010) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Indies Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (retail)
  • Laptv (2009) (Argentina) (TV)
  • Magnet Releasing (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • Movie Bank (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
  • Noble Entertainment (2008) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Pinema (2009) (Turkey) (all media)
  • VVS Films (2008) (Canada) (all media)
  • VVS Films (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Versus Entertainment (2009) (Spain) (all media)
  • Warner Home Video (2009) (Australia) (DVD)
  • Wild Bunch Distribution (2008) (France) (all media)



Other Stuff

Release Date:
  • Germany 8 February 2008 (European Film Market)
  • France 21 May 2008 (Cannes Film Festival)
  • Germany 22 June 2008 (Munich Film Festival)
  • Portugal 17 July 2008
  • France 30 July 2008
  • Germany 31 July 2008
  • Austria 1 August 2008
  • Australia 5 August 2008 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
  • Canada 14 September 2008 (Atlantic Film Festival)
  • USA 19 September 2008 (Austin Fantastic Fest)
  • Brazil 26 September 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Spain 3 October 2008 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • USA 8 October 2008 (Mill Valley Film Festival)
  • Canada 14 October 2008 (Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma)
  • USA 18 October 2008 (Chicago International Film Festival)
  • USA 16 November 2008 (New York City Horror Film Festival)
  • USA 21 November 2008 (Starz Denver Film Festival)
  • Sweden 5 December 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Italy 9 December 2008 (Noir in Festival)
  • Croatia 8 January 2009
  • Netherlands 8 January 2009
  • Finland 9 January 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Argentina 6 February 2009 (TV premiere)
  • Brazil 18 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Ireland 6 March 2009
  • UK 6 March 2009
  • USA 27 March 2009 (Cleveland International Film Festival)
  • USA 4 April 2009 (Philadelphia International Film Festival)
  • Belgium 8 April 2009
  • Mexico 24 April 2009
  • USA 24 April 2009 (Newport Beach International Film Festival)
  • USA 29 May 2009 (Video On Demand)
  • USA 26 June 2009 (limited)
  • USA 18 August 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Canada 8 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 6 February 2010
  • Russia 8 October 2010 (American Film Festival)
  • Argentina 9 December 2010
  • Bahrain 8 September 2011

MPAA: Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and a scene of aberrant sexuality



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , , .


  1. whitcom-1 from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    A good thriller is my favorite genre and I was hooked into this filmwithin the first few seconds and stayed involved for the entire ride.It kept me guessing throughout. The contrast between eerie cop shop andstark, beautiful prairies is a stylish treat for the eyes. Theperformances are believable and compelling. Well cast, withoutexception. The little girl is surprisingly good. Her even performancemade me wonder about what had happened to her and drew me into thestory. When she wasn't on screen, I worried about her safety. Theending is a clever, eerie choice. I was taken completely by surpriseand I usually predict a telegraphed ending a mile away. In this case,any other choice would be a cop-out (pardon the pun). I was glad thatthe director resisted the temptation for a blood-fest. It could havegone much further in that vein. Instead the tension relied uponintelligent visual storytelling. Kudos to everyone involved. Ithoroughly enjoyed this film.

  2. Aka_Who from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    Surveillance proved to be highly entertaining from beginning to end. Aclever blend of dark comedy, crime thriller, and a slight dash ofhorror. I was a little surprised by the choice in cast as several wellknown comedic actors appear in serious roles. What surprised me more ishow well they did portraying their characters. For me the charactershold equal credit (as the story) in the entertainment displayed in thisfilm. My only complaint would be the sheer confusion in the story forthe first quarter of this film. Of course everything begins to cometogether but a little more clarity as to what exactly everyone wasdiscussing would have been nice. A minor complaint for an otherwisebrilliant movie.

  3. Neil Welch from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    I'm usually happy to spoiler away in reviews – this time I shall bevery careful not to spoiler.

    I hadn't realised that the tendency to make disturbing movies ishereditary, but Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance is every bit asdisturbing as anything Dad David has made. It starts with a moderatelyfamiliar scenario – two FBI agents arrive at a small police station (4officers, one captain, one dispatcher) in the back of beyond to tapevideo interviews with the survivors of some sort of incident: thenature of what happened is revealed during the interviews. To say anymore is to spoiler, so I'll shut up about the plot.

    But I will say that "disturbing" is the best word to describe almostall of what follows. And not just one lot of disturbing, but several.The film is gripping, visceral, and features some stunningperformances, notably from Bill Pullman who is not someone who I wouldnormally have put high on my list of those I expect to surprise meperformance-wise.

    Not an easy film in many ways, but definitely worth catching.

  4. samkay1 from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    Jennifer Chambers Lynch, one would assume had been nursing her pridefrom the dreadful reception of her debut, Boxing Helena. Fifteen yearslater she releases Surveillance. This one, a murder mystery, is a majorimprovement but it still has problems. It is a well-crafted seventyminute movie with a remaining twenty minutes of clumsiness, bad writingand a twist which unfortunately is predictable. The movie comes apartwhen it needs to come together, and the result is medium good, when itcould have been very good.

    FBI agents Anderson and Halloway for months have been investigating aseries of interstate serial killings. The latest chapter in theirinvestigation brings the stories of two odd-ball cops, a dis-communalfamily on a road trip, and a couple of coke-snorting kids, together inRashomon fashion.

    I like the way Surveillance plays out. Lynch keeps everything slow andmannered, unlike Boxing Helena which is over-blown from the beginning.Lynch is able to keep the film under control, but unfortunately isunable to pull the wool over the viewer's eyes. The answers we arelooking for become obvious too quickly, making one question whether herintention was to have the viewer fooled or not. Survaillance is notdesigned to be conventional thriller. It is too deep and psychologicalfor that, but it sort of ends like one.

    If I was gonna label Surveillance in a word, it would be 'bitter'. Whenit's over, you come to realize that none of the characters (save one ortwo small roles) are all that respectable. Lynch's screenplay breaksthem down into those who mistreat and those who get mistreated,sometimes both. On a positive note it contributes significantly to thedrama or tension of the picture. There is a major lack of heart to thefilm, although at the same time, there is a certain lack of credibilityas a side effect. Any attempt to explain may be a spoiler so I wont gothat far, but that raises another question…

    If I don't intend to spoil it, does that mean I am recommending it?Well, truth be told, I didn't dislike Surveillance. It is eerie andgrim, which is certain a plus for a thriller, but the outcome is kindof disappointing. My advice: watch it only if you are curious, but itis not a movie that needs to be seen.

  5. dschmeding from Germany
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    "Surveillance" starts so promising… its a pretty raw movie and fromthe obscure opening on to the landscape shots, introduction of thecharacters until the unfolding of the stories begins its interestingwhile not using any music or effects or whatever. Basically the movieis about a couple of FBI agents who are interrogating three survivorsof a bloody crime and trying to find out what happened. The way thestory is told through the eyes of the different survivors who all gotsomething to hide and therefore all tell different stories while thereal occurrences are shown is really interesting and tense. Thecharacters, especially the twisted corrupt cops, the little girl andthe drug-addict are also great and everyone in that backwoods policestation where the interrogations take place delivers. Funny thing is…to me the 2 FBI agents are the least interesting although they are themain characters.

    So the whole story is unfolding, interweaving different points of viewsand everyone being suspicious, the crime is even shown in a prettybrutal way and the movie has a strange nihilistic feeling to it rightuntil the bleak closing shot. Especially the way how the corrupt copsact out somehow really got to me.

    But then in its most important part, the final resolution of the storythey go for a twist of the most idiotic kind…


    The FBI agents are the killers and the whole movie was just a kind ofsick mind game. Yeah, pretty smart… problem is that nothing makes anysense at all. You don't get explanations to why they make such a bighassle of interrogating everyone for hours just to kill them in the endand having some strange sexual pleasure of it. Sure, the real FBIagents are found dead in a hotel room and identified by their badges,but how the hell our 2 smartasses identified themselves as FBI agents?How did they learn to set up and operate their interrogationsurveillance equipment and why does the little girl only tell hersecrets to the most demented people around… first the cops afterharassing her family, then the killer who killed her family. Noexplanation in any of the actions of her or her family. Its just a badtwist turning the whole movie upside down and leaving you with a totalmess of a story that looked so promising when you didn't yet know whatwas happening.

    Until the last quarter I really liked "Surveillance", then i started tohate it. I guess that still makes it a clean average movie…

  6. Rathko from Los Angeles
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    How have I not heard of this movie before? Absolutely fantastic. It'sdifficult to review a movie by Jennifer Lynch without comparing it tothe work of her father. 'Surveillance' possesses the Lynchian smalltown banality, stilted dialogue, awkward character dynamics, brutalviolence, truly twisted killers, and generally off-kilter weirdnessthat you'd expect. But despite the stylistic similarities, the two arevery different filmmakers. 'Surveillance' has a far more traditionalstructure with a familiar art-house/indie conceit of multipleperspectives and unreliable narrators. The central mystery is expertlyrevealed through the eyewitness accounts of several individuals, slowlybuilding the sense of dread to a knock-out last act revelation thatdoesn't disappoint. One of the best thrillers in recent years anddeserving of a much larger audience. More than enough evidence thatJennifer Lynch is a talent in her own right.

  7. okieindian from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    I do not know what today's movie goers expect, but after 68 years ofmovie watching.. (Well maybe I didn't watch many movies in the first 9- 10 years, so make that 58 years of movie watching) I expect to beentertained, not bored to tears, assaulted by continuous profanity(every other word) and idiotic scenes of violence that are presented inwith no other purpose in mind but to show blood splattering and bodyparts being mangled. Surveillance is one of those movies that was madeby people who have NO imagination, little if any talent, a totalinability to tie scenes together and an unreasonable trait of letting ascene go on and on, long after the purpose for it has elapsed. Thatanyone would ever think that this was a worthwhile movie, when it isnothing more that Hollywood garbage is beyond me. As a combat veteran Ihave seen violence, blood and gore, in many forms, and movies like Wewere soldiers is about as violent as a movie can get, but it hasredeeming value. Surveillance must have been dreamed up by persons in adrug induced stupor, with no writing ability, no directorial training,no experience in film editing, and a total lack of contact withreality. Just a stupid movie of two serial killers posing as FBIagents, setting up a scenario to kill some stupid foul mouth cops,etc.. A high priced piece of garbage that only an idiot could like…

  8. gavin6942 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    A pair of serial killers is on the loose, and their latest hotspot isNebraska. When the FBI investigates, they find that all the witnesseshave conflicting stories and are leaving out parts that make them lookbad.

    Jennifer Lynch is not her father, and it is not fair to her foreveryone to compare them. However, for those who are concerned, this isnot on the level of David Lynch (but few things are). In its own right,it's a very entertaining and suspenseful film, and it might keep youguessing until the end. For the first half, we are only given a smallpart of the story, and it works well… I just had to know the rest.

    Bill Pullman is fantastic as always (though he's beginning to show hisage). I can't see anyone else in the role. Julia Ormond is not familiarto me, but she is also excellent. Cheri Oteri and French Stewart did agreat job in serious, and in Stewart's case menacing, roles… a niceadjustment from their past.

    I haven't seen anyone compare this film to the crimes of CharlesStarkweather (which inspired "Natural Born Killers"), which strikes meas odd. Two killers driving through Nebraska? Seems like aconnection… but then, maybe I'm just crazy.

    This film is worth seeing and a fine piece of work. It may not beremembered in a few years (it has already begun to fade quickly), buthopefully word of mouth keeps the attention on it for a while.

  9. redoddball from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    Without a doubt, the biggest waste of film of the year. This movie ispoorly structured, sadistic, cruel and filled with unlikablecharacters. On top of that, and maybe the worst crime, it'suninteresting and vastly predictable. As soon as Bill Pullman'scharacter doodled on the photo changing the word from "evidence" to"violence," I had the entire plot figured out. There are no surprisesand there is no compelling reason to watch this trash. The onlyredeeming feature for me is that I saw this thing for free on my HDNetcable and didn't waste any money. I would truly be angry if I had paidto see it in a theatre.

    Anyone that labels this thing a thriller really needs to get out more.An awful, awful film in every way that matters.

  10. ferbs54 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 7:27 pm

    As if to demonstrate the old adage that "the apple doesn't fall farfrom the tree," director Jennifer Lynch gave the world in her belatedsophomore effort, 2008's "Surveillance," a film just as disturbing asany in her father David's oeuvre. Her follow-up to 1993's "BoxingHelena," the film follows two very atypical FBI agents, portrayed byBill Pullman and Julia Ormond, who are investigating a string ofhomicides in the plains of Nowheresville. (The picture was shot in thegrasslands outside of Regina, Saskatchewan.) The pair interviews threesalient witnesses: a young female coke addict (Pell James, who isexcellent here), a local cop and an 8-year-old girl (Lynch elicits awonderfully mature performance from young Ryan Simpkins). By the film'send, the conflicting accounts yield a somewhat clearer picture, beforea twist ending really pulls the rug out from under the viewer. Indeed,this ending–a remarkably downbeat, merciless and outrageousshocker–should stun and flabbergast most of the film's audience. Arepeat viewing of "Surveillance" demonstrates how very fairly thewriters and Lynch have played their game, and will give an addedappreciation for certain actors in the cast. "I promise you, it's notlike the other films you'll see," Ms. Lynch tells us in one of theDVD's copious extras, and darn if she isn't right! I cannot offhandthink of another picture so deliberately amoral, and so blithelyruthless in the treatment of its entire roster of characters. Whilesome might walk away from "Surveillance" clucking "sick, sick, sick,"most, I feel, will applaud its bravura daring, technical brilliance,fine acting and shocking windup. It's certainly not a movie to watchwith the kids or with Aunt Petunia, but for those game for somethingdifferent, it should just prove the ticket….

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