Although it is a year since Jill (Amanda Seyfried) was kidnapped by a serial killer, she has never recovered from her ordeal when thrown into a deep hole in the middle of the forest in Oregon. When her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) disappears one night as Jill waitresses at the all-night diner, she is convinced the same serial killer has returned. The police are disinterested when Jill raises the alarm - they know only too well that Jill was committed to a mental institution after the attack - and believe she is fabricating the whole thing.
Review by Louise Keller:
Ever since she was abducted a year ago, Jill (Seyfried) has been looking over her shoulder. The worst part is that no-one believes her ordeal; after her escape from a deep hole in the heart of a dense forest in Portland where she was held prisoner, she was incarcerated in a mental asylum. Still obsessed about the events, Jill finds it difficult to move on with her life, persisting in revisiting the forest, trying to find the spot where the devastating events took place.
Now the nightmare seems to have begun again, with Jill's sister Molly (Wickersham) disappearing overnight, while Jill works her all-night shift as a waitress in the local diner. With skeptical police interested only in the fact that she has an illegal firearm, Jill decides to take matters in her own hands as she starts looking for Molly, convinced her sister has been abducted by the same serial killer.
There are plenty of red herrings in this competently made and engaging (but run of the mill) thriller with Seyfried grabbing our attention as she follows leads as if treading on stepping stones over a treacherous river. What is the relevance of the strange characters she meets along the way? There's the cop who likes crazy girls; the locksmith's demented son; the insomniac reclusive neighbour; the heavy tipper from the diner and the nosy hotel janitor. Or is everything a series of distortions in Jill's mind?
Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia makes a decent fist of creating tension, utilising an eerie soundscape, the dark location elements to create unease. I like the way screenwriter Allison Burnett (Underworld: Awakening) has characterized his protagonist, as Jill fabricates stories to suit each situation in which she finds herself.
The climactic rendezvous in the remote forest in the dead of night is decidedly creepy, albeit the film slips into slight melodrama which detracts somewhat. Seyfried carries the film however, with her huge eyes and haunting expression.
First published in the Sun Herald
Email this article
CAST: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Wes Bentley, Daniel Sunjata, Sebastian Stan, Joel David Moore, Socratis Otto, Emily Wickersham
PRODUCER: Dan Abrams, Sidney Kimmel, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Chris Salvaterra
DIRECTOR: Heitor Dhalia
SCRIPT: Allison Burnett
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Grady
EDITOR: John Axelrad
MUSIC: David Buckley
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charisse Cardenas
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 23, 2012
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.