TILL DEATH (2021)
In an effort to rekindle a failing marriage, Mark (Eoin Macken) takes his wife Emma (Megan Fox) to a secluded cabin of theirs. In the morning, Mark handcuffs himself to Emma then commits suicide. Soon Emma finds out Mark was in trouble with the law, knew she was cheating on him with his employee Tom (Aml Ameen), and that this is all part of a last act of revenge. Worse still, two shady associates of Mark’s, Bobby and Jimmy (Callan Mulvey and Jack Roth), show up and are looking for a passcode to a hidden safe…a code only Emma may know. Now she must somehow elude these dangerous men while still handcuffed to Mark’s body.
Flick is solidly directed by S.K. Dale from a script by Jason Carvey and overcomes any silliness by simply telling it’s story well. It’s an entertaining enough thriller with some nice suspense, a bit of graphic violence and enough smarts to know when to milk it’s premise and when to cut Emma loose. Fox makes a strong and resourceful heroine and Mulvey a dangerous and effective villain as Bobby. There are some weak spots, like Bobby’s brother Jimmy having a change of heart at exactly the most convenient moment, but otherwise it’s an involving enough thriller, with a solid game of cat and mouse between the resilient Emma and her foes. It’s moves quickly and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at an economical 88 minutes in length. An entertaining watch on the couch. Available to stream on Amazon Prime.
24 EXPOSURES (2013)
Odd and unsatisfying thriller has a troubled police detective (Simon Barrett) investigating a series of murders and questioning a fetish photographer (Adam Wingard who directed The Guest) who worked with a couple of the victims. The two form an odd bond as the investigation continues. Yea…that’s kinda it. I found this thriller rather pointless and dull. Writer/director Joe Swanberg seems more interested in giving his fellow director buddy Wingard opportunities to make-out with and enact sex scenes with multiple women than he is in actually telling a story. Ironically, when Barett’s cop character tries to sell his experiences as a book, he’s told that the characters and story aren’t compelling enough and there are too many loose ends…kinda like this movie. Also, instead of patting each other on the back by giving each other acting roles, this pack of filmmaker buddies should keep egos in check and hire real actors…just a suggestion.
KILL ME THREE TIMES (2014)
Another Tarantino wannabe thriller that has a hip soundtrack, spurts of graphic violence and a story told out of sequence with dark humor. This time the wannabes are writer James McFarland and Aussie director Kriv Stenders. They deliver the story of hired killer Charlie Wolf (Simon Pegg) who is being payed by a ruthless husband (Callan Mulvey) to murder his cheating wife, Alice (Alice Braga). Unknown to Charlie, a conniving couple (Theresa Palmer and Sullivan Stapleton) are planning to kill her, too, in an insurance fraud plot…but Alice has other ideas. Add in a dirty cop (Bryan Brown) and a lovesick mechanic (Luke Hemsworth) and things get complicated and bloody fast. Flick isn’t terrible, it’s just that it’s style is so familiar at this point and a good deal of it is predictable because so many have already tried to be the next Quentin Tarantino and we know what to expect. Pegg seems to be having fun in more of a tough guy role, but the proceedings in flicks like this have just become so passé and it never reaches the cleverness or the manic energy of the filmmaker whose work is being emulated. OK at best.
THE INTRUDERS (2015)
The Intruders is a completely derivative and familiar story of a emotionally troubled girl named Rose (Miranda Cosgrove) who moves into an apparently haunted house that wants something from her. Obviously her recently widowed father (Donal Logue) thinks it’s all in her troubled head and no one believes her that something may be in the house with them. So, she begins to investigate. Add in alleged disappearances and suspicious neighbors and you know where this is going. Thriller isn’t badly directed, as by Adam Massey, it’s just that Jason Juravic’s script is loaded with been-there-done-that. The only thing that elevated this for me out of the incredibly familiar and mundane material was that Cosgrove is actually quite good, despite being surrounded by clichés. In a much better film, the former Disney Channel actress could be quite an impressive final girl. Also stars Tom Sizemore as the suspicious neighbor and Austin Butler as the stereotypical nice guy hunk with a soft spot for pretty, damaged girls. Up to you.