By Mike Szymanski
When first viewing the previews and commercials for “A Perfect Getaway,” it looks like one of those 10-little-Indians slasher movies where a group of friends goes off to some beautiful locale and gets picked off one by one. Well, it’s not that simple, and in this case, it’s a lot more intriguing with plenty of twists and unpredictable moments. It’s not a slasher movie, it’s much smarter and way more enjoyable. I love this movie enough to pay to go see it again and see what I missed along the way.
The cleverly told tale of horror begins with a lot of clips of friends at a wedding who are telling the newlyweds what they like about them, and making stupid jokes. At first, I thought, “Oh no, this is going to be told through the video like in ‘Cloverfield’ and I’m going to have to take my motion-sickness pills.” But no, that’s only an early gimmick that plays an important part of the film later on.
The wedding guests are talking about the couple’s great plans to go off to an exotic faraway part of the island of Kauai in Hawaii for their honeymoon.
Newlyweds Cliff and Cydney (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) carry the camera and review the wedding as they drive into the wilderness of the island. They make a stop at the local store where they get their food and permits and are ready to hit the trail. Cydney is hanging all over her hubby, acting like a silly lovesick newlywed.
Then, Cliff and Cydney decide to pick up sun-bleached hitchhikers Cleo and Kale (Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth). They seem friendly enough, until Kale gets an attitude and decides not to get in the car with the couple.
Rumors along the path of tourists they pass tell Cliff and Cydney about a newlywed couple who were brutally murdered on a neighboring island, and that it’s thought that a male and female couple is responsible.
Then they come across Nick (played by a super buff Tim Olyphant), who helps them in a tight spot along the pass that drops down a steep cliff, and the couple decides to hang out with him for a while. That is, until they see that he’s meeting up with a naked girl on a raft played by Kiele Sanchez. And then the plot really thickens, as we begin to wonder which of the three couples is actually a pair of killers.
Hollywood insiders are going to enjoy the back-and-forth between Cliff and Nick when Cliff says he’s a screenwriter whose first movie is being made. Nick asks about the second-act plot twist and other specifics about screenwriting that seems to make Cliff uncomfortable. It’s funny, because they are in the midst of the plot twist as they discuss it.
It’s hard to say any more about this movie, except that there are flashbacks in a kind of sepia black-and-white that are rather irritating (hey, we get it, you’re going back in time). The movie is also a travelogue for the stunning mountains and coastline of Kauai, the Garden Island.
This is a good movie with a lot of twists, like “Orphan” that opened earlier this summer, but not as gory as that one.
Rogue Pictures is a new little studio that has done “Last House on the Left,” “300,” and “Bruno” among others. They are turning into an amazing little production house, churning out quality and off-beat movies for the masses. Keep ‘em coming!
Stars: Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton, Chris Hemsworth
Director: David Twohy
Studio/Official Site: http://www.iamrogue.com/aperfectgetaway