This story is a cross between the kidnap torture and revenge genres. A couple who are moving to a different state are targeted by a gang of highway robbers who don’t realise that they have kidnapped someone more ruthless and psychotic than they are. Mild spoliers ahead.
The resulting film is pretty standard horror slasher fare. The interesting difference in this case is that both sides are bad and you don’t really want to support either of them. The psycho doing the killing is a proper psycho who kidnaps women and imprisons them in his basement. The people dropping like flies are a slightly inept but viscous gang of kidnappers, robbers and killers who we have already seen murder a family. So you don’t really know who to root for much of the time.
Even the supposed innocent, a girl kidnapped by Mr Psycho who ironically gets rescued by the kidnap gang, has a dangerous edge to her that makes you believe she would happily murder everyone around her if it was to her advantage. All this could be considered spoilers but really, after the first 20 minutes of tedious character introduction this film doesn’t really bother with twists or reveals. Even the main psycho who is initially painted in the role of righteous avenger is revealed as a psycho so early on that this role is replaced before the events have even happened that would give him reason to be vengeful. That’s not to say that there aren’t interesting plot developments that add to the characters and story but nothing I would really consider a dramatic twist.
It is a shame really that all the characters are such stereotypes and that the misdirection is so half hearted, if there was a bit more time when we thought that Mr Psycho was just Mr Righteous Avenger before we found out that he was also a psycho this would have introduced an interesting dichotomy when we realise that the righteous person we have been cheering is actually a cold blooded killer.
Mr Psycho’s girlfriend/wife is actually the most interesting character here for me. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that we find out absolutely nothing about her I’m intrigued by her origins. She is obviously aware of her partner’s activities and may have been involved in them. She doesn’t like the fact that he spends time with his kidnap victim rather than her but never admonishes him for the actual kidnap and imprisonment. I like to believe that she is a previous victim who eventually joined forces with him.
Some things to look out for:
- The most gruesome infiltration technique I’ve ever seen.
- On finding the dead body of their friend and renowned tough guy the gang don’t call for help or run away but spend ages recovering the body and transporting it back home.
- Once the killer has found the gang hideout, he takes time out to get naked and have a wash in the lake.
- Despite the title some people do actually live through the film. I’m not sure whether I’m OK with this or not.
Overall, an entertaining film with an interesting twist on the usual kidnap/revenge story but executed in exactly the way as if the twist were not present which is disappointing.