Director: Iain Softley
Cast: Julianne Hough, Teddy Sears, Madalyn Horcher
Running Time: 86 minutes
Iain Softly’s mixed career continues with a rather run-of-the-mill survival thriller from Jason Blum’s genre canon Blumhouse Productions. In a Q & A following the film, the director, who has previously given us HACKERS, THE WINGS OF THE DOVE and THE SKELETON KEY, said Blum was keen on a collaboration should the right project crop up. Passing along the bunch of screenplays, Softly stated the only one that interested him was CURVE.
If that’s the case the rest of those scripts must have been stinkers because writers Kimberly Lofstrom Johnson and Lee Patterson offer us nothing new to the genre in its attempts to merge THE HITCHER with something cinematically stationary like BURIED or MISERY. In the end we’ve seen all the same narrative threads played out in way better projects. Namely THE HITCHER, BURIED and MISERY.
If there is any credit to be given it must be to rising star Julianne Hough. She gives a committed performance as a young woman driving solo from San Francisco to reluctantly begin a new life in Denver, before her impending nuptials in a matter of weeks. The trouble starts when her car breaks down in the mountains with only ruggedly handsome roadside stranger Teddy Sears on hand to help.
Sears is horribly miscast as the supposed hitchhiking headcase, and never once comes across as fearfully authentic. His chiselled good-looks too angelic to be a believable psychopath. He even appears to look embarrassingly awkward when having to use bad language and sexual innuendos in his exchanges with Hough’s unlucky beauty.
When tempers flare and Hough’s desperation has her crashing the car down a ravine to escape, she’s the one who comes off worse for wear. The accident seeing her trapped upside down for days and at the mercy of Sears’ surviving menace, who sporadically decides to wander off if only to allow us to witness our heroine’s endurance and kick-ass transformation. Trust us, it’s nothing special – cooking rats and drinking pee basically.
So yeah, once again Softley treads too softly in yet another generic thriller that fails to stand out from the crowd. Our advice: Stick out a thumb and stick with Rutger Hauer’s THE HITCHER.