A young woman, Emma, (Adelaide Clemens) screams. Again. We see her running in the forest, but she is caught by a trap, and is hung upside down by her feet. She’s not getting away, but she isn’t going down without a fight, either.
A bunch of redneck criminals are looting a family’s house, but when the family arrives early, one of them shoots them all in reflex, angering all the other members and forcing them to forgo their potential earnings.
Driver (Luke Evans) is moving away with his younger girlfrined to a new start. There seem to be issues between them, though they look like a couple that have deep feelings for each other. From their innuendos, we suspect an affair on the driver’s side. He apologizes for messing things up.
They stop by a motel and watch the news: the girl in the forest is still missing after about 6 months, but she has managed to carve EMMA ALIVE on the tree.
They later go to a diner/bar suggested by the motel owner, and the girlfriend is still upset about the other woman. The diner is empty, but soon the redneck gang arrives. The members aren’t looking for trouble, aside from the guy, Flynn (Derek Magyar) who killed the family. He’s certain our couple is loaded, and he disturbs them. The gang leader (Lee Tergesen) prevents him from bothering anyone further, but Flynn won’t let go.
The couple’s car is crashed into, and they’re wounded. They wake up in an empty storage place, guarded by the massive gang member Ethan, who seems like he could eat a couple of successful boxers alive.
The members are angry, but Flynn has returned with the couple’s car and trailer. He is sure Ethan can get the couples’ “financial” information easily, making up for the loss.
But what torture-ready Ethan doesn’t count on is the girlfriend completely losing it, and the Driver “losing” it even further. What starts out as a couple in distress, turns into a worse psychopath – a psycopath who’s weapons and combat-trained, hunting down the gang members one by one…
And as the gang members turn into victims, they will face other twists and turns.
As we slowly lose any sympathy we might have had for the driver, we still root for him to kick the gang members’ ass. They overestimated themselves and severely underestimated him. And it’s one thing terrifiying/killing a helpless family, and it’s another when they are going against a Dexter meets Hannibal meets Bourne – only without the morals or cannibalism.
It’s not the most sophisticated dialogue, and switches between finely foreshadowing and extremly on the nose. That said, I actually like on-the-nose dialogue when it works, and you can’t help like Driver talk what’s on his head without hesitation or calculation. Why not be blunt and open when you’re the one with a plan to kill everyone brutally, innocent or otherwise? And when he doesn’t kill you, it might even be a worse sign….
For a very bloody and mindless action/thriller, it’s pretty good entertainment. Some things could be improved, but it’s always fun to have a psycho hunting other psychos, and when he is strangely for empowering his chosen female victims while screwing them the hell up and developing his version of Stockholm Syndrome.
I’d love a sequel or a prequel, to be honest. Written by David Cohen. Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura.
Leader : Are you a serial killer?
Driver : Serial killers work in solidarity, I am more of a numbers guy.
Driver’s Girlfriend: A man who lacks emotion is sorry.
Driver : I don’t lack emotion. I just process it differently*. (*Which is the understatement of the year, really.)
Enjoy this bloody thriller. No pun intended. 🙂