18 August 2009 | Michael_Elliott
Good Thriller with Questionable Twists
Perfect Getaway, A (2009)
*** (out of 4)
The "old dark house" genre was made famous back in the silent days as we'd get a group of people in one house with the idea that one of them is a killer. That basic idea continues with this film, although instead of a house we're treated the beautiful locations of Hawaii. A newlywed couple (Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich) are on their honeymoon in Hawaii and decide to go on an eleven mile hike. Half way through the hike they learn that another newlywed couple were butchered. The film then has our couple meeting two other couples (Timothy Olyphant/Kiele Sanchez, Marley Shelton, Chris Hemsworth) with the possibility that one of them are the murderers. This 97-minute movie is pure buildup for the final ten minutes when the twist is revealed. I certainly won't reveal the twist but I must say I was somewhat letdown by it but not enough to really enjoy the film. This is the type of movie that gives you a rather simple idea and then works every little inch out of it and in the end we're left with a pretty tense little thriller that is sadly being marketed as a horror movie, which might keep some people away. The film benefits from the great locations, terrific acting and some nice direction. All six leads do a terrific job and it was great seeing someone like Zahn get the leading role. He's basically played supporting roles most of his career but he has no problem carrying the film here. He and Jovovich have great chemistry together and work well with the other cast members. Olyphant clearly steals the film as the ex-soldier who is hiding a few secrets of his own. Another very positive thing about this film is that the majority of it takes place during the daylight so there's nothing jumping out of the shadows at night. I think it's brave to try and build suspense during the day but the director pulls it off perfectly. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio picks up the entire beauty of the island, which really becomes a character all by itself. The film is up for a lot of debate over the twists and turns it takes, which is good. Discussion never hurts a movie and I'm sure people will be discussing what happens here. I personally found it to be a cheat but a lot of thrillers do this. No matter how one feels about the twists there's really no denying that there's still a lot of fun and tension building up to the final moments.