'The Word'

Daniella Van Graas in a scene from "The Word." (Scarlet Sky Productions. / August 14, 2014)

A young boy's abduction and murder serve as catalysts in "The Word," a new film starring Kevin O'Donnell as a grieving father who learns of an identical case in a different state — another crime that appears to be a ritualistic sacrifice performed by a cult.

A suspect in custody has confessed to the abduction, but FBI regional commissioner Mike Sheehy (James Naughton) warns the dad of the prolonged judicial process ahead.

The father circumvents that process by stabbing the suspect during the arraignment. His deep political connections allow him to be charged only with disruption of court proceedings (losing some of our sympathy along the way). Released on his own recognizance, he continues to take matters into his own hands, questioning the integrity of the covert agent (Quincy Dunn-Baker) investigating the case.

As a procedural, "The Word" doesn't work as well as it should. Its parade of red herrings isn't effective, and ultimately the reveal of the culprit simply isn't satisfying. However unintentional, the film does prompt an analysis of the costs and benefits of vigilantism. In that regard it's reminiscent of the 2001 film "In the Bedroom." For the father in "The Word," is revenge enough to quench his bloodthirst?

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"The Word."

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Playing: At Landmark's Regent, Westwood.