Box art for Zodiac

Zodiac

drama, thrillers


Based on the actual case files of one of the most intriguing unsolved crimes in the nation's history, Zodiac is a thriller from David Fincher, director of Se7en and Panic Room.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    89%
  • Audience Score
    76%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
Violence
5 out of 5
Consumerism
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
Language
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5

Notorious case inspires dark, sinuous thriller.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this three-hour movie about the investigation into a string of real-life serial murders during the early 1970s is too violent and disturbing for most teens (and probably even some adults). While some violence takes place off screen, what does appear is brutal and bloody: The Zodiac shoots a couple in their car, stabs another couple in the back (the victims' pained, horrified faces are shown both times), and shoots a cabbie. Police officers and reporters discuss the deaths in some detail. Characters drink heavily and smoke frequently (one also uses hard drugs). References are made to the killer's "latent homosexuality" and a suspect's pedophilia. Language includes repeated uses of "f--k."

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the media's relationship with serial killers. How do the killers use the media to gain attention? How do the media use the killers to gain ratings? How do viewers and readers respond to such coverage? Think about how movies portray killers and their pursuers: Unlike The Silence of the Lambs, this movie focuses on the investigation, with very little information about the killer. How does that affect the film's narrative and displays of violence? Is violence more effective when it's shown, or when it's implied? Why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    89%
    reviews counted: 28
    see all Zodiac reviews
  • Audience

    76%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh:

- Ben Rawson-Jones, Digital Spy, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fresh: Several bravura suspense sequences - can't help but recall slasher convention.

- Ben Walters, Time Out, Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fresh: There are no tidy, last-minute plot twists to make you feel good in Fincher's Zodiac, just focus -- to keep an audience focused -- and the most disciplined filmmaking you've seen in forever.

- Bob Mondello, NPR.org, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

I stayed up REAL late watching the DVD and I almost never do that. Couldn't turn it off. In the end, sure, a bit of a shaggy dog story but I didn't mind. Quibble - they might have explained the Melvin Belli character a bit more. I got that he was some celebrity lawyer but I didn't think it was set up well.

- brooklynspo, Friday, February 8, 2008

5 stars

Zodiac is another David Fincher masterpiece he returns to form with this film. Combining thrills, with suspense; Fincher creates real life horror about the infamous Zodiac Killer who terrorized the San Francisco area, this film is a real thriller in the purest sense of the word, and is based on a truly terrifying fact. Based on Robert Graysmith's book of the same name, Zodiac is a tense, thrilling even at times downright horrifying look at the Zodiacs reign of terror. David Fincher's crafts his film to create something that really breaks the rules of Thriller, Mystery, Horror. When I've first seen this film, I thought it was totally different from any other thrillers that I've seen in the past. The only explanation is that Zodiac is a real Horror story, a truly terrifying moment in history, much like when Jack The Ripper stalked the streets of London in 1888. A terrific cast adorns this thrilling film and its a tense film filled with moments of sheer terror and it will keep you guessing until the end. Simply a terrific film. Keep in mind that this is a real Horror story as the Zodiac Killer did exist, a thriller like no other.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4 stars

Zodiac begins on the 4th July 1969 with the Zodiac killers second attack when he shot Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau at a lovers lane in Vallejo and ends a decade later, sustaining suspence and occasional horror throughout. From the director of the cult classic Fight Club and the medicore Panic Room, David Fitcher hits an nerve and doesn't let go. Form the begining of the of the investigation the audience is riveted to the hunting of the hunter, the real life, still unkown serial killer who called himself 'Zodiac'. And as the investigation runs it course with speculation running wild, the audience becomes evermore obsessed as the investigators are. None more than the character of Jake Gyllenhall, who gives a increasingly frantic performance over shadowed by the sensational witty acting of the masterful but underarted Robert Downey JR. Dotted throughout this masterful crime drama, are scenes of pure horror as the killer feeds what drives him and the investigators get closer to unveiling the Zodiac. (SOPILERS) The fact that the crime is ultimately unsolved adds to the mystery, even though a possible answer to the killers true identity is offered. I wonder if the actor who played behind the mask was the same actor as the possible Zodiac? This would answer the question of wether or not Fitcher believed himself that the proposed cluprit was in his opinion the real Zodiac killer. Questions remain unanswered, but this obsessive compulsive crime drama electricifies.

- smith44, Tuesday, May 18, 2010