Movie Review: “Run Like Hell” In The Other Direction

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Review by James McDonald

When four friends end up stranded in the small town of Spaulding, one local family offers help. The family’s real motives become terrifyingly obvious, as the couples find themselves fighting for their lives.

I love getting the opportunity to review new independent movies. When I started making my films many years ago, the internet wasn’t around so I had no way of promoting them but today, filmmakers, both big-budget and independent, are spoiled for choice, especially when it comes to the power of social media. Vin Diesel takes great advantage of Facebook, continually teasing fans with pictures and photos from whatever movie he is currently working on and we also have Twitter, Pinterest, Linked-In, Instagram and Tumblr, to name but a few. Filmmakers use these sites as a platform to try and get the word out about their movies and I don’t blame them as the cost of marketing on big-budget films, can range anywhere from $100 million and upwards.

“Run Like Hell” is on Facebook here and available on VOD now but I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie in advance and regrettably, the word is not good. The movie starts off with two couples, Dan and Samantha (Dave Finn & Tamara Carey) and Luke and Maggie (Canyon Prince & Robyn Buck) as they set out on their yearly road-trip to visit family up north. As they make their way through Arizona, Dan insists on visiting some famous landmarks and after one such stop, they watch helplessly, as a lone figure breaks into their jeep and drives off. They make their way to a nearby house where the owners kindly bring them in and look after them until the police can recover their vehicle.

The next day however, all hell breaks loose when our group of heroes realize that they have stumbled into a small town that is run by thugs who rape, torture and eventually kill any woman who passes through and it’s up to Dan and Luke to find their wives before it’s too late. The movie starts off well enough, with the two couples portrayed as young and head-over-heels in love but once they enter the small town of Spaulding, the movie begins to slowly unravel. Luke is an ex-marine and quickly takes charge but Dan is the wimpiest protagonist I have ever encountered. At one point, he and Luke, who are strapped to chairs, are being terrorized by a bad guy who is threatening to kill them but Luke manages to break free and as he struggles with the bad guy, Dan exclaims out loud that he can’t watch and turns away.

Some of the bad guys are portrayed as bumbling idiots who are more concerned about bodily defecation for humor’s sake which, by the way, feels very disproportionate to the overall theme of exploitation and human trafficking. Most of them don’t carry guns either and appear to use the power of intimidation to caution their victims. By the end of the film, Dan has turned into an action hero that simply defies logic. The guy initially can’t even hold a gun properly but then preposterously evolves into Jason Bourne and this aspect is just so far-fetched that any inkling of believability that the movie originally possessed, goes right out the window. We also get some sporadic moments of gratuitous violence towards women that is seemingly only in the movie for the sake of violence. Or torture porn as some people call it.

I so badly wanted to enjoy this movie, it had elements of “The Hills Have Eyes” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” but sadly, it overindulged in these components way too much and became more of a caricature which caused it to lose its own individual temperament. The actual look of the film was simply pristine. The images were crisp and clean and beautiful to look at and I just wish I could say the same about the rest of the movie.

Available On VOD Now

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James McDonald
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