Written and Directed by David Twohy
The story itself is simple enough. Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cyndy (Milla Jovovich) are a young couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii. They’re all fun and fancy free. They’re the usual tourist couple who know nothing about where they’re at other than it’s beautiful and they want to have a good time. Cliff is a little jerky about things but Cyndy is much more pleasant. She’s just into enjoying being a newlywed. In the background of all this is a story about a honeymooning couple killed on a neighboring island. Apparently, the killers are island hopping and may have made it to where our story takes place.
There’s another couple-and they become a featured set of characters-that Cyndy and Cliff encounter as they trek along a trail towards a remote beach. The boyfriend in the second couple Nick (Timothy Olyphant) is a discharged military officer. He took some shrapnel to back of his head while in Iraq. He’s all about situational awareness and knowing what you’re going to do before you have to do it. I’ve known a few discharged military officers in my time. The ones that have been injured in the field are very much like the character that Olyphant plays. There’s something off about them but not in a dangerous way. It’s more in a weird and slightly intense way. They’re harmless individuals overall. Gina (Kiele Sanchez) is his girlfriend who is as intense and off kilter as Nick is. She comes off as a girlie redneck. I give both actors props for not going over the top here. They pushed both of their portrayals right to the edge but never over. Nick and Gina hook up with Cliff and Cyndy in part because he likes them and in part because Clif is a screenwriter and Nick thinks his life would make a great movie.
There are a few red herrings introduced along the way. One significant features Kale (Chris Hemsworth) who is an emotionally abusive individual who you could easily see as a killer. He has a hair-trigger temper and does nothing to hide his anger. But that’s too easy even for this movie. Hemsworth does a decent enough job. He doesn’t ham it up and does make the character a believable possibility. The movie does a good job of making you believe everything is all in the heads of the main characters at times.
There are a few scenes as they walk the trail designed to create a sense of paranoia. It usually involves Nick telling some tall tale and in one instance even features his character along with Cliff going off into the rain to hunt. It’s laid on a little thick at times.
The scenery is a star in and of itself in this movie. The scenery is framed and shot gorgeously. Then again, I don’t think it’s possible to take an ugly shot on island in Hawaii. It’s probably some of the most photogenic environments on planet Earth. You could be spun around blindfolded and take a gorgeous shot.
The acting is solid here. Whether or not any of the characters are the killers is beside the point. You can buy them as they present themselves. Zahn as the jerky and slightly irritable screen writer. Milla Jovovich as the newlywed wife riding high on her dream honeymoon. Timothy Olyphant as the slightly off kilter military officer. And Kiele Sanchez is good as the girlfriend who is quite girly yet knows her way around skinning a goat and thinks her man is just the greatest man she has ever met.
I have a gripe about the music. The music in the film is like what you hear in a travel log. That may be the point but if you’re trying to do a thriller you really shouldn’t use it. It can take you out of the film at times. There may be points where it would be acceptable but throughout the whole film is a bit too much.
The big reveal at the end pulls everything that’s happened together. If you’ve been paying attention from the opening credits you would have picked up pretty early on who was really who but you’re just taking in the movie so the reveal is quite a shock. There are plenty of a-ha moments when it’s done that you realize a certain clue or clues slapped you across the face and you didn’t realize it. David Twohy put it all right out there and really didn’t hide anything but at the same time doesn’t put a flashing sign above it.
Overall the story is just okay but the twist at the end in my opinion is what helps save the rest of the movie. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad movie but the plot and script are nothing unique. It’s a good film and you will enjoy yourself at least on the first go around. It may not lend itself to repeated viewing, but it will lend itself to a good first time. I recommend it.