Rogue River Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
DVD released by G2 Pictures
Directed by Jourdan McClure
Written by Kevin Haskin and Ryan Finnerty
2010, 77 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Michelle Page as Mara
Art Alexakis as Peter
Chris Coy as Andrew
Michael Cudlitz as Sherrif Boyd
Lucinda Jenney as Lea
Bill Moseley as Jon
Remember when you were little and your parents told you never to talk to strangers? Well here’s why. Grieving twentysomething Mara (Michelle Page) travels to the desolate Rogue River to scatter her late father’s ashes, here she’s approached by Jon, a kindly and concerned older gent. Discovering that her car has mysteriously disappeared, Jon offers to give his new friend a lift into town, but first why don’t they stop off at the house to meet his missus? It would be rude not to, right? Wrong. It’s here where things take a turn for the worse, as Jon’s kindly demeanour slowly unravels to reveal the crazed madman underneath. Pretty soon, we begin to realise that nothing is as it seems in this household.
The chirpy husband and wife charade falls apart almost instantly leaving Mara stuck in the middle of its collapse. We soon discover that Lea, the woman who we’re lead to believe is Jon’s wife, is a cancer victim with a passion for sadism. It’s at this point where any normal person would bolt, but no, Mara sticks around and learns the hard way why talking to strangers never ends well.
For his directorial debut newcomer Jourdan McClure creates a suitably unsettling experience. We’re never intended to feel comfortable during Rogue River’s 80-minute running time and McClure guarantees that we don’t. There are plenty of grit-your-teeth shocks on show too. When Mara cuts her hand, the deranged duo gives her stitches -– old school needle and thread style. When they don’t like her foul-mouthed pleas for escape, they wash her mouth out with boiling water. And when Mara’s brother comes looking for his missing sister, well…let’s just say her crazed kidnappers make sure he finds her.
It’s a shame that the same amount of care and attention wasn’t given to Rogue River’s storyline. What’s driving Jon and Lea to perform these deadly and deranged acts? Is there nothing more than pure crazy to blame for the movie’s bizarre pseudo-wedding climax? Despite subtly suggesting that Lea may have lost a child and Jon was affected by his time at war, these questions remain unanswered, leaving you scratching your head as the credits roll. On the plus side, the flick is given an overdose of creepy thanks to a sterile soundtrack and some disconcerting turns from Lucinda Jenney and horror vet Bill Mosley as Mara’s crazed kidnappers. However they’re just not enough to save Rogue River and sadly talking to strangers once again ends in tragedy.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.