isn’t quite as much of a thoughtless gumbo of torture and gore as one
might automatically suspect. (Great that that passes for a compliment in some quarters, and a dis in other chatrooms.) As a gleefully unapologetic exercise in
pure celluloid stalking, though, director Nimrod Antal’s film does have the unfortunate distinction of feeling rather emotionally
vacant and psychologically unpalatable, coming as it does the week of
the Virginia Tech campus shootings, the worst single school massacre in
The plot centers on a bickering married couple, Amy (Kate Beckinsale) and David Fox
(Luke Wilson), returning from
one last trip together before finalizing their divorce. Driving through
the desert, David decides to take an unfamiliar short cut down a
desolate back road. Naturally, their car breaks down, and the pair end
up at a creepy motel with an oddball manager named Mason (Frank Whaley), a plot contrivance which Wilson referred to as “that old
number” during an awkward pitchman’s appearance on The Tonight Show earlier this week.
Overall, a lot of energy is expended and sweat produced — fueled by leering camerawork from cinematographer Andrzej Sekula (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) that makes heavy use of close-ups — but this genre exercise isn’t a cathartic one.
With mainstream audiences already cooling on Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s admittedly flawed, double-feature Grindhouse
experience, will they be any more inclined to see something of the
exact same sort of exploitative field, only less referential and more
straightforward, but also a lot less fun? Studio-employed box office trackers will know later tonight; normal folks can wait until Sunday or Monday, and check back. For the full review, from FilmStew, click here.