Wreckage comes to DVD

Monday, 22 August 2011 10:02

This is a nervy horror film that features a fairly impressive cast, including Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Scoot McNairy (“Monsters”), Cameron Richardson (Harper's Island), Mike Erwin (Dexter) and Kelly Kruger (“Mysterious Skin”). It was directed by John Asher, who besides directing seven episodes of One Tree Hill has acted in numerous TV series. Not a bad pedigree for a small-time fright-fest.

A young boy is driven to homicide when his brother is attacked by their mum's aggressive boyfriend. Jump forwards fifteen years, and one of the brothers is witnessed escaping from a high-security prison. Meanwhile, four friends break down on the open road and seek assistance from a nearby scrap yard. One of them is shot and things rapidly head downhill from there. One thing is for sure: it will be a miracle if anyone survives the night. Much of the characterisation and action in this movie brings to mind “Scream”. For one thing, the protagonists goof around until the blood starts flowing, and from there on it is a tense run-around as one by one they are mysteriously picked off or vanish, apparently without trace.

Wreckage comes to DVDThe opening gambit with the young boys gives strong hints about the plot but several red herrings are thrown in to try to keep the audience on the wrong foot.

There is less dark humour than in Wes Craven's classic, but one unexpected and expertly-timed death suggests the makers were aiming for more levity than they achieved. Some of the performances are solid; others are shallow and unconvincing. Paul plays Rick, a slightly haywire character not a million miles away from his Breaking Bad role, but he steals most of the scenes.

Erwin is dependable as Jared, an ex-military jock with more guts than the entire local law enforcement outfit. Roger Perry (Falcon Crest) is Sheriff Macabee, a cautious but experienced figure surrounded by his youthful and pretty hopeless deputies. The most alarming performance comes from McNairy, who appears to have taken the subtlety he used in “Monsters” and gleefully jettisoned it in favour of outrageous, horribly grating over-acting. You can see what he was aiming for but he misses the mark by miles.

Back to the positives, though. The direction is slick, the lighting pleasantly clear for a film mostly shot at night, and there are enough variations on the central theme of a group running around a junk yard whilst being picked off to mostly keep the film from becoming too predictable. Perils include a ferocious security dog, a deadly car crusher, and piles of rusty, unstable vehicles. Oh, and a wily masked assailant who is always one step ahead of his prey.

To sum up, if you enjoy jumpy horror films with an attractive cast you will probably get a so-so kick out of this. Just do not expect much from the extras on the disc - all you get is a trailer.

“Wreckage” (2010) is out now, courtesy of Chelsea Films. The main feature has a running time of 86 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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