Downrange Movie Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Released by Genco Inc.
Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura
Written by Ryûhei Kitamura and Joey O’Bryan
2017, 90 minutes, Not Rated
World Premiere at TIFF on September 15th, 2017
Kelly Connaire as Jodi
Stephanie Pearson as Keren
Rob Hernandez as Todd
Anthony Kirklew as Eric
Alexa Yeamas as Sara
Jason Tobias as Jeff
TIFF Midnight Madness is usually a great time of year to catch some amazing horror films that have not been seen by the public just yet. Downrange was one of the first films that was at the top of my life because director/co-writer Ryûhei Kitamura has made some very interesting films with some weird storylines. I was excited to see what he was going to give us with Downrange.
The story is simple: A group of people decide to ride share across the state together to split the cost of gas. When they hit the secluded part of California that they are driving through, they get their tire shot out. Thus begins the killings. All done in one location. It has a Phone Booth type of feel, but with way more killing and a lot less Colin Farrell. When it comes to movies that take place in one location for a full hour-and-a-half, I need to know that you are going to draw me in but also keep my interest piqued.
Downrange is good for getting your attention hooked very early on. Barely two minutes in, their tire gets shot out and they are stranded in a secluded area. Basically, every minute that passes after this is just the audience waiting for the random sniper to start picking them off one by one. Within the first half hour, the gore begins. Kitamura teases you with this by bidding his time, every minute that passes you think, “Oh my God, when do they get shot!” However, the storyline drops after this. You have no connection to these characters because they don’t have a life, they don’t have any sort of arc.
I will give this movie credit. There is so much gore. Kitamura does not shy away from showing people getting holes blown into their heads. If you are a lover of gore, you will love this. Although, if you are a lover of storyline, watch something else. I will also give credit to the fact that when we are down to two characters, it’s two girls. Not a guy and a girl, and they don’t fall in love. I really enjoy this part of it because when it comes to life threatening movies like this, that always happens and it’s unneeded. I get it, your life is threatened and that makes people horny. I have been there. However, it adds nothing to the story and I’m glad that Kitamura didn’t play into this typical trope.
This was on my list of films that I was insanely looking forward to at TIFF because I liked Kitamura’s other work. Most people weren’t a fan of Midnight Meat Train, but I honestly love it. I do have a lady boner for Vinnie Jones though, so that might have helped. Downrange has a fear driven plot that adds really nothing else. It plays well with an audience, but watching it alone in your basement apartment, you don’t get the full affect. If you do decide to see it, see it on the big screen.