Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Superb, Twisty Turny Thriller
on 29 October 2014
This is an atmospheric, beautifully shot, and very well acted thriller. It's full of twists and turns, and clever misdirection, which keep you guessing until the end of the movie.
Cold Rock is a tired, rundown Hicksville town in Washington, USA. Like Dunblane in Scotland, it has an overwhelmingly tragic history - seventeen young children, including babes and toddlers, have gone missing, feared to be dead. The local police have no clues and no leads. Cold Rock is an isolated town, surrounded by dense forest. A legend is created about the Tall Man, who's some sort of boogeyman, or a Bigfoot, or an evil man or monster who can't be stopped. The townsfolk are down and out, drained of spirit, resigned to their fates.
Jessica Biel plays Julia, the local nurse. She's a beautiful, thirty-something widow, and a mother to a boy aged about eight, David. She lives with a close friend, Christine. One of the other locals is a mute teenager named Jenny, who alleges that she's seen the Tall Man, more than once.
I found the first twenty minutes of the film quite like Stephen King's It - children disappearing one by one from a small town in mysterious circumstances. However, the film then explodes into life, with a thrilling sequence when David is snatched from his home by a masked intruder. The next ten minutes is absolutely enthralling, involving a truck and a crazed dog. I won't say any more because it is just too good to miss.
At the midpoint of the film, there's a very clever twist in the tale. The second half of the film is all about the hunt for the missing children, and right at the end, another smart piece of misdirection is revealed.
Jessica Biel gives a superb performance as the lead actress. The supporting cast are thoroughly convincing in their roles. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful - this is a very stylish film. The script is well written, and the various sub-plots are satisfyingly drawn together during the course of the pic. The film has distinct similarities with Seven (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman), and is just about on a par with that movie.
I've knocked one star off the rating for this highly enjoyable movie, for the following reasons. Firstly, the story is somewhat implausible. If seventeen very young children had disappeared from a very small town, over a period of years, the FBI would probably have set up camp in the surrounding forests. Secondly, the film appears to have an underlying political or socio-economic message, the gist of which seems to be that "trailer park trash" folk don't deserve to have children.
But these are relatively minor grumbles, and overall, this is a deliciously dark and gripping thriller. A horror film it is not. And finally, at less than a fiver for the blu-ray, this movie is cracking value for money.
Thank you for reading this review.