New Releases for Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Directed by: Lane Toran
Run time: 76 minutes
The Lowdown: By now, it’s clear that witches are all the rage, having replaced zombies, which in turn replaced vampires as the du jour monster in many horror films.
Getaway, the first film from actor Lane Toran, owes a debt to other recent releases, particularly We Summon the Darkness, and it’s difficult not to compare Toran’s effort as a result.
Getaway focuses on three female friends, Tamara (Jaclyn Betham), Maddy (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Brooke (Landry Allbright), who are literally getting away on a girls’ retreat to a lakeside cabin.
While driving to meet up with Maddy and Brooke, Tamara runs out of gas. Almost as if on cue, two stereotypical backwoods rednecks, including Toran as “Merv,” stop to help her. Merv immediately starts making sexual overtures and, of course, Tamara tells him and his brother where she is going.
Later that night, at a local dive bar near the lake, the three ladies receive a round of drinks from a stranger (spoiler alert – Merv) that have been laced with GHB. Maddy and Brooke, who are dating, don’t show any effects, but Tamara ends up staggering outside where she is abducted.
Merv and his brother take her to meet their father, who says creepy things like, “We have an obligation. Pretty little things like you come around, we can’t let them leave.”
It turns out Merv’s family has been kidnapping, raping and killing young women for some time.
Merv’s dad says they like to breed the women just before death so they can go to Heaven and make “angel babies.”
Tamara tells creepy dad that her family has an obligation too. “We curse men like you,” she says.
About this time, Getaway introduces the idea that the ghost of one of the former victims has been summoned to help Tamara survive. Or maybe Tamara is a witch and summoned the spirit herself. It’s not very clear for a good chunk of the film’s brief run time.
What is clear is that a lot of Getaway feels clunky and poorly thought out. The romance between Maddy and Brooke feels almost forced for the sake of titillating the audience, which just isn’t necessary.
A late-in-the-third-act reveal also adds further confusion as it basically confirms what you suspected was happening all along, which makes little sense given how much effort Toran’s script takes to try and keep you guessing.
Getaway isn’t bad, per se, but it isn’t original enough, gory enough or over the top enough to register as a must-see title.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – Yes. Gore – Yes.
Drug use – Yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – Witches and rednecks
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Underwater (20th Century Fox, 95 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): I said it way back in early January, and I’m going to say it again – Underwater is one of the best ocean-set creature features ever made.
Everything about director William Eubank’s film works.
It’s incredibly taunt, ridiculously unnerving and the Holy Shit reveal of the titular creature in the third act still gave me chills, even on a second viewing. It’s fucking Cthulhu and it’s glorious.
Underwater is that rare film where even stock characters are portrayed in a way that you immediately attach to them and their terrifying plight as the small crew braves certain death to walk along the Mariana Trench to safety after their deep-core drilling station is destroyed.
And I have to hand it to Kristen Stewart. She is absolutely phenomenal in the role of Norah, the mechanical engineer who somehow keeps her wits even in dire straits.
Stewart had the unenviable task of creating a strong female protagonist on par with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in Aliens, and she absolutely crushes it.
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Now on Video-on-Demand:
The Lurker (Indican Pictures, 80 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): It’s apparently Scout Taylor-Compton month in genre cinema as the former Laurie Strode 2.0 toplines a second direct-to-DVD release with The Lurker.
The Lurker is a retro-slasher with a twist that follows a theatre troupe being picked off one by one by an assailant wearing a plague doctor mask.
Regardless of the fact that she’s now in her 30s, Taylor-Compton plays Taylor Wilson, a high school student, with a troubled past. And she’s pregnant, although she thinks no one knows.
The Lurker opens with a classic slasher trope, as a school guidance counselor is stalked through the halls until she finally gets caught and gutted.
Then the film jumps to a party where the dad of a student is allowing all the kids to gather and drink. During a scavenger hunt in the woods, Taylor sees the plague mask killer throat slit two friends. She runs back to the party, but no one believes her.
Oddly, at this point, The Lurker just stalls. Nothing much happens, especially nothing scary or interesting, for a good 10 to 15 minutes.
Finally, it revs back when Taylor is cornered in the bedroom of the student whose house is hosting the party, and he turns out to be an awful misogynist who tries to forcibly rape her until plague mask arrives.
From there, the lurker, I guess we’ll call him that, just starts plowing through the remaining students, killing them all. Except one.
Inexplicably, there’s a huge twist in the closing minutes that basically upends everything you thought you knew and spells out exactly what was happening all along.
The Lurker tries mightily to cash-in on nostalgia for classic 80s slashers, but the story isn’t thought-through enough and there’s just not enough original ideas to keep longtime slasher fans invested.
Powerbomb (Indican Pictures, 79 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Powerbomb, a new thriller set inside the world of independent wrestling circuits, wears its low-budget, DIY-aesthetic well.
It’s an often-fascinating look at the mythos that professional athletes, wrestlers specifically, have to create, and how those in-ring personas can be completely misunderstood by fans desperate to believe that wrestling is real.
The main narrative thread in the film follows one such fan, Paul (Wes Allen, who co-wrote the script), who idolizes Matt Cross (Matt Capiccioni), a once red-hot star trying to break through to the sport’s top tier.
Paul kidnaps Matt, takes him to the house where Paul cares for his ailing mother, and chains him up in the basement.
More to the point, Powerbomb is a rich character study of the men and women who make their living beating hell out of people and getting beaten up for a living. The script does a nice job detailing the struggles that families face when one parent is traveling non-stop.
Powerbomb is surprisingly well-done, and refreshingly cohesive. The two main storylines – Matt’s efforts to escape Paul and Matt’s wife Amy’s (Roni Jonah) efforts to escape an unscrupulous promoter who becomes increasingly unhinged when Matt disappears – eventually dovetail for a satisfying conclusion.
Powerbomb is one of those films that with a little extra polish and a surplus of additional funds could have been a contender for a theatrical release.
If you’re a wrestling fan, this is one title you absolutely need to check out.