Star Trek opened last week and Suicide Squad arrives next. In between, we take you back to 2011, to a beach town where something sinister is afoot, and a Game of Thrones alumna is among the targets.
Written and Directed by Erica Dunton
Jazzy De Lisser as Ana Frost
Chelsea Logan as China Rees
Adwoa Aboah as Emily Mateo
Audrey Speicher as Abigail Pearce
Jami Eaton as Zoe Linderman
Jill Jackson as Margaret Frost
Ed Wagenseller as Robert Engledew
Traci Dinwiddie as Ruth
Jon Stafford as Peter
Jason Davis as Bryan
Cullen Moss as Paul
Taylor Kowalski as Gus
James Forgey as Daniel
Tammy Arnold as Therapist
Kaitlin Bellamy as Victim
Vicki Debaets as Mrs. Rees
Heather Dobbin as Zoe’s sister
John Elliot Gray as bartender
Trisha Paytas as Fantasy Girl
John Pendergrass as Mr. Rees
Five teen girls with secrets get together in a beach town for a night of “no consequences.” Indeed: someone appears to be stalking them, in life and online, and we know from the start that only one will survive to tell the tale.
You may want to keep watching. This film is not what it appears to be.
Erica Dunton gets credit for taking the most overused thriller premise in cinema history and then, in the final twenty minutes, revealing that we’re not watching that movie. The first twist, the identity of the killer, I suspect many people will see coming. The real twist is another matter. It changes our understanding of the story, and explains aspects that seemed off.
Unfortunately, between promising, if predictable, start and genre-bending, expectation-warping conclusion, we have most of the movie. Most of the movie consists of hackneyed teen drama. And some of the actors are not even equal to that material.
Originality: 3/6 The score averages the “High” and “Low” points.
Effects: 3/6 Other than a few basic practical near-effects, we have some interesting cinematography.
Acting: 4/6 The best of this uneven and occasionally wooden lot is Jazzy De Lisser, who appeared briefly but memorably as Tansy in Game of Thrones, and was still a teen when she made this film. Given the mediocre performances by most of the other girls, and their numerous interactions with adult characters, I wondered why they didn’t cast younger performers in the other roles. I can accept overage teens onscreen when the films are stylized (the latest regurgitation of American Graffiti or Pie) or if the actors are passably youthful (Juno, The Diary of a Teenage Girl), but typical Hollywood casting works against this movie, whose characters pretty much have to be teenagers. A cast of unknown youngsters would have added a visceral element that might have encouraged viewers to forgive certain flaws in the script.
Production: 4/6 The filmmakers did reasonably well, especially when one considers the film’s total budget might purchase a mid-size car.
Emotional Response: 3/6 If you stay awake until the ending, it features a knockout punch that forces you to reconsider everything you’ve seen. The film’s premise requires more suspense after the initial opening, and deserves more effective drama in the middle. Many viewers will have checked out by then.
In total, to.get.her receives 24/42