Jonathan Dade (Milo Ventimiglia) is just finishing up his latest book (writing, not reading). He celebrates with a walk in the woods to see the grave-marker of his 3 year old son Thomas who recently drowned. Afterward, the festivities continue over a mostly silent dinner with his wife Addie (Sarah Shahi).
The might be the most low-key movie I’ve ever seen. After every take, the director must have said, “That’s was great, now let’s take it down a notch.” After a Kubrickian 700 takes, we would reach the sullenness of this movie. But somehow it worked for me.
That night, as they are in bed, there is a knocking at the door. Rachel (Sara Paxton) says she had car trouble and was chased by men wearing gas masks. They invite her in. While Jonathan inexplicably goes out to look for the men in gas masks, the gals have a chance to talk.
When they regroup at the house, we finally get a spark of life as Rachel is abducted by one of the masked men. Luckily, Jonathan has a gun. In a safe. In his office. Which is in another building in the compound. He apparently is a pretty successful writer though the movie makes nothing of this.
As with all home invasion movies, there is a great sense of creepiness and violation as the strangers enter. Much of the movie is cat and mouse as the couple variously flees and attacks the men. An oddity that is explained later is that the men, while menacing, never seem to take the opportunity to hurt the couple when they have a chance.
These guys make Michael Myers look like a sprinter. Several times all that stands between them and the homeowners is a rickety front door, or a louvered interior doot that your finer serial killers would cut through like butter. The masked men seem content to just scare the bejeebus out of them.
I appreciated that all of this made sense eventually, and also that it was something different than the standard slasher film.
The actors were fine. Certainly Sarah Paxton was better her than in Cheap Thrills. The denouement was good. The costumes were intriguing. But it was just so leaden — the colors, the voices, the mood. The positives carried it for me, but I couldn’t suggest anyone else sit through it.
- A commentor at IMDb noted that both Ventimiglia and Shahi have played roles as Sylvester Stallone’s kids
- In looking for this film on IMDb, I see The Ring was originally called Static. How could that be since it was based on Japanese film called Ringu, not Staticu.