Directed By: Adam Wingard
Written By: Simon Barrett
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn
R 1 h 35 min – Horror | Thriller
The one and ONLY reason I am reviewing this is so that no one ends up wasting time or money seeing this film. It stars Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg and Margaret Laney. Everyone I just listed make up the Davinson family. On a weekend retreat at the family’s house in the woods old conflicts arise and tension is high between the siblings. The family all come together on the first night of their trip at the dinner table. Each character was introduced intolerably. Writer Simon Barrett is very observably impotent when it comes to realistic dialogue. I literally can’t find the words to describe how bad and unworkable the dialogue was…I’ve seen student films that would seem to deserve an Oscar when compared to this. It seems as though Barrett REALLY wanted a powerful backstory behind each character so as to make it more powerful when he killed them off, but he fails miserably. When characters start dying the only emotion I felt was relief that I didn’t have to watch this nightmare of an attempt at acting by any of them. It all starts when one of the daughter’s boyfriends is standing by the window and gets nailed in the face with an arrow. Everyone goes berserk and suddenly Erin (Vinson) the Australian girlfriend of son Crispian (WTF?) takes charge and starts guiding everyone to safety. As if it wasn’t cliché enough already, they each pull out their phones and oh my god! They don’t work! You would think that it’s because they’re in a house in the middle of nowhere but it’s ACTUALLY because the villains have a cell phone jammer nearby, apparently you can buy them for 30 dollars on the internet (actual dialogue). Seriously? It’s a horror film, of course their phones don’t work, what a pathetic attempt at trying to be inventive. Ok so they decide to run for it. Who else to do it but the soft spoken blonde daughter would fit the campy horror mold? She turns to her father and assures him that she can do it. She runs for the door, in slow motion, for about 15 seconds. I looked to the people next to me and their jaws were on the floor. Was this really happening to me? Slow motion running to the door? Bah! That’s not how you build suspense it’s how you kill it. From there Erin decides to take matters into her own hands (of course, what’s a horror flick without a victim turned victor?) and starts setting up booby traps all around the house (why?). She arms herself with a meat tenderizer and gets busy. She’s asked where she learned all these skills. “I grew up on a survivalist compound in Australia” she says. I lost it. First of all, she was putting nails through a piece of wood, is that really a baffling skill set? Second of all, what the hell is a survivalist compound exactly? And why in god’s name can’t she just be a badass who doesn’t want to die? Why assign some bullshit backstory that at this point has no effect whatsoever on the character or her believability? From there Felix (one of the sons) is found out to have hired these guys to kill his whole family so he can collect on the inheritance. Him and his gothic “I wanna have sex with you next to your dead mom” (actual quote) girlfriend are all upset because the plan was starting to scatter. Maybe you and your boys should have just showed up with a silenced 9mm and wiped them out when they were all sitting there next to each other in one room…just a thought. I might as well have just stayed home and watched Lifetime. The production value would have been higher and it’s the same plot as every one of their movies. The plot was weaker than balsa wood, the actors were absolutely pathetic, no power, no emotion, no sense. One of the worst scripts I have even encountered, PATHETIC directing, entry level/sloppy special effects, unrealistic blood and a torturous soundtrack (monophonic 80’s synthesizer cued up randomly) land this one a 4 on the meter. Perhaps one day I’ll give it another shot but I doubt that day will come anytime soon.