Friday, August 07, 2009

A Perfect Getaway (Review)

A Perfect Getaway

A Perfect Getaway

Directed by David Twohy

Well I've watched most of the movies made in the "tourist hell vacation" subgenre of horror. I know you've seen them too.

Turistas, The Ruins, Hostel, Wolf Creek, Open Water, Splinter, Donkey Punch.

There are a ton more that I haven't mentioned but you get the point. So it would be interesting to see what we'd get when Pitch Black director David Twohy, teamed up with Steve Zahn (It's the guy from Suburbia and Joy Ride!) and Milla Jovovich (It's Alice! from Resident Evil) would come up with. Would we get Turistas Part 2? Ugh. The Ruins Part 2? Win!

Oddly enough, A Perfect Getaway is neither. It's one of those movies that's sits on the border of slightly above average and generic, cloned copies of tourist-horror flicks. It's a mixed bag of nuts. So pack up your bags were going on vacation!

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Two pairs of lovers - Cliff (Zahn) and Cydney (Jovovich), and Nick (Olyphant) and Gina (Sanchez) - on a Hawaiian vacation discover that psychopaths are stalking and murdering tourists on the islands. Cliff and Cydney are an adventurous young couple celebrating their honeymoon by backpacking to one of the most beautiful and remote beaches in Hawaii.

Hiking the wild, secluded trails, they believe they've found paradise. But when the pair comes across a group of frightened hikers discussing the horrifying murder of another newlywed couple on the islands, they begin to question whether they should turn back. Unsure whether to stay or flee, Cliff and Cydney join up with two other couples, and things begin to go terrifyingly wrong.

Far from civilization or rescue, everyone begins to look like a threat and nobody knows whom to trust. Paradise becomes hell on earth as a brutal battle for survival begins.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

The question you automatically ask yourself in a flick like this (after watching the trailer) is:


There's going to be lots of twists and turns and I Nostradamus-ed a guess before I watched it. I wrote it down and sealed it in an envelope. After the film started I started second guessing myself and you know what? My first instinct was dead right.

Because I came home, ripped open that envelope and it said the killers would be......

Oh c'mon dude. I'm not going to reveal that in the review...jeez.

But trust me, go with your gut on guessing who dunnit. It's usually right.

But back to the review. Cliff and Cydney are the first couple we meet and they seem to be the most odd matchup you'll ever see. Really Zahn hooked up with the Jovovich? That's like hitting grand slam in the World Series of hookups. They are in Hawaii, taking in the sights and beaching and vacationing it up.

After encountering "red snapper" #1 (you'll get this inside joke when you see the movie) Cleo and Kale, they soon find out a couple has been killing newlywed couples in Hawaii. Soon they suspect each couple they encounter could be the "Mickey and Mallory" like killers. They then meet "red snapper"couple #2 Nick (Olyphant, it's the arch criminal from Die Harder!) and the uber hot Gina (it's Kiele Sanchez, Nikki from Nikki and Paulo on Lost) and Nicko turns out be a man of mystery. Olyphant's character is by far the most interesting of the four. He tells Cliff and Cyd of his adventures in special operations for the military. A jack of all trades, he hunts, he spews advice and he drops many subtle foreshadowing hints via his conversations.

Soon one of our couples gets taken into custody and we are left to figure out who among the 4 remaining vacationers is the evilest of the evil doers. The first hour of the movie is done well, I had no complaints. It actually had a feel that it was self aware that it was a "vacation turns awry" horror movie. Cliff is a popular screenwriter and Nick tells him stories he can write about as they all hike to a beach on the island. It's parodying the 3 act movie structure, the "red snapper" aka the "red herring" where a characters or characters are introduced "to fuck things up". The dialogue throughout the movie hints at these inside jokes. But as Hollywood is cliched, we do get some jump scares to get your heart racing for the tween crowd. But here is where we hit turbulence.

The thing is the last 30 or 40 minutes slowly jellos into the generic "HA HA! We fooled you with our awesome twist!" holiday in hell horror movie. In the middle of this is a 20 minute or so reveal (complete with black and white flashbacks, really??? because we jabronis can't tell a flashback if it's NOT in B/W?) Read that last sentence.

The reveal/twist lasts for 20 minutes! OMG, it was such overkill I can't believe they actually did that. We flashback into all the subtle conversation hints YOU should have picked up on while eating your $6 bag of popcorn. By then, you know how the movie is ultimately going to end and any steam you had for the flick of not being a carbon copy of the genre was gone.

Zahn plays the quirky dork quite well while Jovovich emotes as much as a video game character. Sanchez is very Kate-like (Kate from Lost) in her determination but it's Olyphant who steals the show with his macho GI-Joe Jedi tough guy.

The visuals are very stunning, as Hawaii is a place where any douchebag with a digital camera can take a great picture. In the end though, you get what you paid for.

A Perfect Getaway is your vacation from the other horror subgenres. It's not a killer child, or a unkillable slasher flick. It's not about a gypsy curse or a rape and revenge movie. And it most certainly does not have any zombies or vampires in it.

It's a perfect example of "Don't go on vacation or you'll die" horror and though it seemed like it would be different, it turned out ultimately the same.

Sorta like how all vacations end up being.


Sliced Hands
Dental trauma


Partial Kiele Sanchez nudity
Partial Milla Jovovich nudity

WTF moment

The 20 minute or so reveal

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

If you're going on vacation soon, this movie probably won't end up as the in flight movie. But it sorta feels like it would end up as one. I had high hopes for this flick, but like all vacations of mine it usually ends up like the following:

1.) Way excited ("Holy shit! I'm on vacation! Fuck work!")
2.) Tons of shit to do, so little time ("Holy shit! There's so much fun shit to do, but I have such little time")
3.) Don't drink the water ("Fuck me, I drank the water. I think I can still go swi....where's the fuckin bathroom!")
4.) Recovery, then the indulgence of food ("Did I really eat that entire pig?")
5.) The trip back home ("I hope my new Tiki doll gives me good luck. Thanks Greg Brady!")

Well that's pretty much sums up my feelings of The Perfect Getaway.

Check out Evil Adam's review as well. Thanks to him I was able to get to an early screening.


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  1. I'm going to adore this film...I just know it. It's somewhat generic, has a pretty setting and a ridiculous mystery/twist. EXCELLENT!

  2. I never said not to watch it. 2 spinkicks says its watchable. But don't think you're seeing the next Ruins or Scream classic.

    Decent average as you're gonna get these days for horror.

  3. you couldnt pay me to watch this one, it looks like a whole lot of I dont care. then again.. I was wrong about Turistas and The Ruins..