Written by Simon Barrett
Directed by Adam Wingard
Notorious serial killer Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen) has just escaped police custody and resumed his killing spree. His former girlfriend and recovering alcoholic Sarah (Amy Seimetz) has recently moved to a small Midwestern town and is trying to put her life back together. She regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where she meets fellow addict Kevin (Joe Swanberg). Kevin is romantically interested in Sarah, but she remains withdrawn: her past continues to haunt her and may soon catch up with her, as Garrick is leaving a trail of bodies in his hunt to find her.
When people tell me to watch a film because it’s shocking or disturbing I usually feel obligated to check it out. Note to self: these suggested movies are rarely shocking or disturbing. This was no exception.
While I give this props for relying on atmospheric backbone instead of over the top blood and guts, it still isn’t enough to save this sluggish tale. If you’re epileptic or prone to fits of motion sickness, I’ll warn you in advance to skip this. It feels like it was shot by a ten year old with a handicam. The frames are jerky, featuring random close ups of random body parts, hands, fingers, etc. No boobs if you thought this was headed there. It’s alienating if nothing else.
The film is slow and desolate. Not every scene is filled with dialogue which is kind of refreshing. The end was a pleasant surprise. I really wasn’t expecting it. I do enjoy a twist that I didn’t foresee 30 minutes in.
Kevin, the boyfriend, takes Sarah to his parents’ cabin so Garrick won’t be able to find her. When they walk in they see two hicks playing cards at the table. Kevin asks them what they’re doing there. Turns out Kevin and the two men are Garrick’s biggest fans and they worked this scenario for months to help Garrick extract his revenge on his girlfriend who ultimately got him caught. Garrick isn’t exactly applauding when he walks in.
Garrick didn’t want to kill her though. He tells them that he loved prison because he was in solitude, isolated from weapons and people. He couldn’t kill there. Garrick the serial killer wasn’t some blood-thirsty savage, but a killer wishing he didn’t have to kill. You get the idea and the four men in the cabin all die. Sarah walks out alive. This the only moment in the whole film that pulled me in.
While I appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do with an already overcrowded genre, it’s just a little too bland and slow to make any ripples in the horror waters.
Is it good enough to watch? Sure. If it’s on Netflix or HBO or readily available for free. I rented it OnDemand. Six bucks I will never see again – just like this movie.