Slasher films have been going since the 1970s, even earlier if you want to press the point. So, every scenario has pretty much been played out over and over again.
But occasionally, you get a take on the genre that stands out. This is one of them.
So, the vacation house on a lake, with not many neighbours around to bother you. Yep, the usual setup. And the family that seeks to have a vacation before the summer is over. They've been working hard and...yeah, the usual setup.
Now, here is where it begins to stand out.
Let's talk about the two children. They are real life sisters, so really know one another, as sisters do. So that actually translates in the portrayal of the daughters. These two young actors bring the subtext into the roles that makes them believable. They are a highlight in their behaviour as scared little girls. Both sisters are good, well directed, and have believable dialogue, age appropriate to their characters.
The mom is a good actor as well. She really drives this story. Yes, as some reviewers were critical about taking children outside when a murderous maniac is out there seems kind of stupid...but what is the alternative? Stay put and know he's coming for you and so you are volunteering to be a victim. This mom doesn't like the options, but will try again and again to get her children out of there and to safety if she can.
The husband is probably the most forgettable. His character is rather two dimensional. Well, the actor really didn't have a lot of material or screen time to make a difference. And, yes, it was rather stupid to follow the red thread....does he not know his wife and kids, that they wouldn't pull a prank like this on him? Apparently not. Small plot problem here, but it is one of the few...if you even catch it.
The psychopath is invisible in the beginning, as often is portrayed in these films. He is revealed in the second reel, and we still don't know much of anything about him, or why he seems to have a need to kill people. But we find out later when he monologues with the children. And yet, there is still a mystery about him. Motivations are not always known. That isn't a bad thing and helps define him a little more.
The gore factor was kept at bay, except when needed, and even then it wasn't the focus. So, if you're squeamish, you'll be able to handle most of it.
Now, the climactic moments are very well done, if just a touch predictable. But sometimes predictability is often welcome. We do not want the bad guy to win; we want mom to prevail. And she does. The children are saved!!
Okay, language...this film sought to only use foul language in a way that made sense, so it was kept to a minimum. Let's be honest here. Not all people swear like a drunken sailor on leave. Many of us use very little foul language, especially around children. Films seem to portray adults and older kids as foul mouthed and crude. I find that to be sad. So the lack of rampant profanity here was quite welcome.
Five stars because as slasher films go, this one was intelligently handled. The language, as mentioned before was kept at bay. The children actors were superb, and mom was great, too.
Any plot holes are easily overlooked because the pacing of this film was also very well handled. The slow portions were themselves well paced and put where they should be, and not dragged out beyond what they should have been.
Ignore the one and two star people. This is a fun film.