MAY 10, 2012
If you’re ever in the mood for a wildly erratic horror movie that was seemingly made up as they went along and possibly stitched together from two different productions, look no further than Wreckage, a sort-of slasher with a confusing back-story, at least one extra murderer, out of nowhere comic relief, and a cast that keeps coming and going and thus keeping you from ever getting a real handle on any of them.
And I mean the characters literally come and go – the film’s main plot kicks off when a drag race (one that comes out of nowhere, of course) results in a broken down car for our hero. But the three people he is with completely disappear from his car during the bulk of the race, which makes the entire thing confusing. It also makes our hero an asshole, suddenly invisible or not, one of his passengers was pregnant and thus probably didn’t need to be put in such a pointlessly dangerous situation.
The rest of the movie takes place in a junkyard, as they go looking for the parts they need to fix the car and start getting picked off one by one. Who could it be? One of the very casual police officers who show up and easily hand out guns to the civilians? The grown up version of one of the kids who shot his mom and her boyfriend in the opening scene? The other drag race guy? The junkyard employee? And are any of them the same person who murdered a would-be rapist/murderer in the film’s 2nd prologue? Why the hell are there so many people in this movie???
The end of the movie mostly explains everything, and it probably wouldn’t be so confusing if director John Mallory Asher had assembled a movie that wasn’t so needlessly all over the place. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever for the bit with the girl being menaced by the rapist guy, and I don’t see why they couldn’t just have the car break down in typical horror movie fashion instead of the silly drag race stuff (especially when you consider that they weren’t up to shooting it properly). Keep it simple! Because you kind of suck at making it complex!
And it’s a shame, because there’s actually a fun movie somewhere in there, it’s just that finding it is akin to scooping your hand around in an ice cold cooler looking for the last Coke in a sea of Diet – you start to wonder if it’s worth it, or if you need to press on so your efforts won’t be in vain. When it’s actually working, it’s surprisingly enjoyable in a Final Destination-y way, like when a girl is rescued from a compactor only to be crushed by a falling car a few seconds later. And Scoot McNairy is simply brilliant as the redneck junkyard employee who is petrified of both heroes and villains alike, but not above making a few oddball remarks at their expense (I particularly liked his answer to how hard it can be to screw in a lightbulb). I should note that if you like his performance, make sure you stick around for all of the credits, as we get more of his craziness (and a firework show!) in what must be the longest post-credits bit I’ve ever seen in a slasher.
It also has Aaron Paul, no doubt finally finding its way onto DVD (it was at least two years ago) thanks to his increased name value after winning an Emmy for Breaking Bad back in 2010. He is tasked with the bulk of the movie’s more ridiculous moments, including accidentally shooting the hero’s girlfriend, and figures prominently in the flashback-heavy finale that does its best to tie all of these random plot threads together while hoping no one notices/remembers the ones that never paid off. He’s basically playing the same outburst-prone selfish prick he plays on BB, so that should delight fans of the show (of which I’m only on S2, so don’t spoil anything if you have anything to add about him).
Unsurprising that the trailer focuses heavily on him, making him look like the lead for its first 30 seconds or so, before it gets to the action and is forced to ignore him since he disappears for a large chunk of the film once things start going bad. It’s also a poorly compressed trailer; the movie itself looks pretty good but this appears as if it was stolen off of an iPhone. The movie’s pretty short and there are no other extras*, so I don’t know why they compressed it so poorly when there was plenty of room on the disc. I also don’t know why I care.
What say you?
*Fellow reviewers that might be reading this – please list the supplements in your “DVD reviews”. Even if you don’t watch them yourself, merely mentioning that they exist can actually make your review helpful to would-be buyers, which is kind of the point. I currently have two discs from Blockbuster that are jam-packed with bonus material that not a single review I’ve found for either film mentions (I’m currently balancing too many projects to have time for extra features so I’ve been renting based on how quickly I can get through the disc). Be thorough!