This happened to be on last night just as I was sitting down, and I was feeling a little ambivalent about the 2 blu-rays I'd grabbed from the library earlier, so I decided to just go with it and see if this old Nicholas Cage suspense-thriller was any good. The short answer is "not so much."
It's not horrendous, just mostly sort of plodding. The premise is that Cage is a private eye hired by a rich widow to investigate a snuff film she found in her dead husband's private collection. She's concerned that it might not be fake, that the girl in the film might indeed have been killed, and she's feeling guilty about having been married to some sort of sadistic pervert all those years.
Cage's investigation takes him across the country looking for first the girl and then the men who made the movie. Along the way, he picks up a fun sidekick played by Joachin Phoenix and runs across a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini. Catherine Keener is also here, playing Cage's neglected wife--a role she once again inhabits with her shrewy whining standard mode. God she only seems to pick unlikeable characters. Anyway, the point is that the supporting cast is pretty excellent.
In terms of scares, this one falls more into the Silence of the Lambs category--it's more a mystery than a gorefest. However, the subject matter of snuff films does give the whole thing a pretty disturbing feel, and Cage wades through various menacing aspects of the underground porn industry while investigating the film.
Interestingly, one of the recurring motifs of the movie is that snuff films are "myths," which is something I'd never heard before. I'd like to think that's true.
I think what fails in the movie is that the script seems to want to show the Cage character as going through a sort of unraveling as he delves deeper into the seedy porn world. But Cage isn't really that complex of an actor, and the script doesn't really provide the context for us to care much about any such change.