The last time we saw Jennifer Lynch (daughter of legendary surrealist David Lynch) she was attached to a film so reviled that it almost derailed her career for keeps.

The picture in question was 1993’s Boxing Helena, a notoriously outrageous melodrama about extreme love (and kinky, limbless sex) that was infamous before it was even released, due chiefly to the fact that actress Kim Basinger bailed on the project in pre-production.

Basinger was subsequently sued by the producers, and when the film finally ended up on screens, critics tore it to smithereens.

Sixteen years later the quirky filmmaker has returned with the far less controversial but no less disturbing picture Surveillance (opening tomorrow), a noir-esque thriller that has, unlike Boxing Helena, won Lynch both awards and critical praise.

“It’s hard to find a hero in the film,” says Lynch of her serial killer opus. “But I do think that the villain is violence. We all have propensity for violence and the characters in Surveillance are confronted by this in various volatile ways.”

Surveillance stars Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond as a pair of eccentric FBI agents sent to a remote prairie town to investigate a series of sickening murders. As witness after witness is questioned and observed, a fragmented puzzle begins to form, a subjective descent into madness that climaxes in an full-on orgy of bloodshed.

And yet, despite the graphic nature of the film, Surveillance is also darkly funny.

“We had a great cast,” says the director of her motley crew of thespians, the likes which include Canadian icon Michael Ironside and comedian French Stewart (TV’s 3rd Rock From The Sun).

Lynch is currently in post-production for her next shocker, a shot-in-India creature-feature titled Hisss.

“Hisss is about a cobra who turns into a cobra woman then into a giant cobra who swallows men whole. It’s super fun.”

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