John Mallory Asher
Starring: Aaron Paul, Justin Allen, Scoot McNairy, Kelly Kruger, Mike Erwin
When their car’s fan belt snaps during a drag race on a county road several miles outside their home town, best friends Jared (Erwin), Kate (Richardson), Rick (Paul), and Jessica (Kruger) find themselves stranded with two options: walk all the way back home or try their luck on finding a spare belt at a nearby scrap yard. Choosing the latter, but arriving after nightfall and finding the yard closed, they decide to climb the gate and go in search of the required part. Their situation goes from mildly inconvenient to seriously lethal in an instant when Rick’s careless horseplay with a loaded pistol leaves Kate wounded and in desperate need of medical attention.
Meanwhile, the local sheriff’s office has just received notification that a serial killer has escaped from the state prison and is thought to be hiding out somewhere in the area. Alerted to the situation at the wrecking yard by Jared, the police and ambulance crew arrive on the scene but can find no immediate sign of Rick, Jessica or the injured Kate. Moments later, the discovery of a mutilated body places Jared in the frame as the prime suspect in a murder investigation and leads to a long night of bloodshed and mayhem as a mysterious killer stalks the yard determined to slay everyone and leave no witnesses.Review:
Oh, the irony! People talk about things being “car wrecks” especially bad movie productions. The only difference is that I was “forced” to watch this particular one, so I could adequately review it; there was no turning away. The title “Wreckage” resonated through the entire picture. The tag line “The spare parts may be your own” led me to believe that, at the very least, they’d be some good gore scenes.
Well, there wasn’t.
The movie is unusual in that it features two prologues; one introducing two brothers as children with one of them shooting their white trash mother and step father, the other prologue serves to introduce the serial killer aspect to the plot.
We’re then introduced to the main characters before a drag race goes wrong and they’re stranded and in need of spare parts for the car. The second prologue has established that cell phone coverage in this particular part of America is poor, so I’ll forgive the writers for not allowing the twenty-something characters to phone for a lift. They get to what looks like an abandoned scrap yard and that’s where the story ends for some of them. Things go wrong, the cops show up and like a horror version of the keystone cops, they don’t do very well. Characters get picked off one by one in fairly mundane ways, apart from one – Jessica, played by Kelly Kruger (a surname more frightening then anything that transpires in the film) who gets strung up, to bleed to death (that’s how it seems initially, anyway). Her body’s discovery is almost a highlight but is a cliché in a film full of them; from the ditzy brunette at the beginning who acts like she’s in a sexless porn film to the “shock” revelation at the end.
The synopsis and front cover art promises a lot more than the film delivers and I don’t think the blame rests with the filmmakers, this is just another example of movie salesman b.s. as the movie appears to have been made for television, and network television as opposed to cable. Given the subject matter, there’s precious little gore. If this was strictly a DTV I’d have expected more guts to spice up the whole thing.
There seems to be a general effort to make a movie that plays with genres, as in from “slasher” movie to comedy to action movie, but it’s a lofty ambition without the production values to pull it off. No genre is well served, and it doesn’t help that the movie is advertised as an out and out horror movie. The shoddy action elements that stray from the norm don’t embellish the feature. The final act is not entirely predictable although I wasn’t surprised at the outcome. It could have elevated the movie had it not been for the confused nature of the film.
The actors all seem to make an effort and treat the screenplay seriously. I couldn’t believe that Jared (played by Mike Erwin) was an ex-soldier though. He just didn’t come across well in the shoot-outs toward the end. I commend the actor for having a go. Cameron Richardson, who was in Harper’s Island , did a good job.
The stand out performance and the one that made me think “Does he think he’s in a different film?” was from Scoot McNairy, who was so good in Monsters, playing the local hick. In Wreckage he gets the chance to really go for it with a kooky performance that must have been an idea for comic relief. Wearing dirty overalls and Mr Magoo specs, McNairy steals the show from everyone and almost persuaded me that I was watching a better movie; almost but not quite. When McNairy’s on screen I enjoyed watching this flick despite my misgivings. One of the main reasons that I thought McNairy had it in his head that he was acting in another movie was the random clip shown during the end credits. It’s totally off-kilter and nothing like the tone of the rest of the film. At first I thought it was an outtake, but it didn’t have that kind of feel to it. Strange but not unwelcome and I’m glad that I stuck with the credits.
The engine that drives Wreckage misfires on many occasions. It tries to be a horror, comedy and action movie but doesn’t satisfy on any of those levels. It almost gets there, with Scoot McNairy’s presence. It’s almost as if the rest of the cast try and reach for something when he’s onscreen, because the movie noticeably returns to its banal quality when he’s off screen.
There are some good ideas within the screenplay that aren’t fully realised.
is not a total write-off. If you accept it as a Friday night bit of cheese whilst getting wasted then you might appreciate some of it.
3 out of 10