|This tagline has absolutely nothing to do|
with the film. Nor does that person. I don't
know who that is.
The writing process for Wreckage appears to have been to write a load of horror movie cliches on post-its and arrange it into some form of plot, or rather, a series of scenes that could at the minimum be called a plot. See, there's these two kids who get involved in a domestic shooting. Then there's this girl who's trapped in her broken down car and gets helped by a mysterious enigmatic stranger. But forget both of those, because it is actually about four friends who peruse a junkyard and get picked off one by one. Only, they don't really get picked off one by one, everyone who comes to rescue them does. Kind of.
At one point, the Sheriff exclaims "nothing makes any sense here does it?" which pretty much sums up the entire film in one handy bit of unintentional meta-commentary. There's a drag race that starts out of nowhere over a long distance and the three people who were in the car before the race casually wander over at the end as if they were there the whole time. There's that opening sequence that pretty much gives the identity of the killer away if you happen to be paying attention and then another sequence after that in which some random girl gets stalked by a creepy truck driver. Only for him to be killed, we assume, by the killer. That girl never appears again.
Dialogue volume seems to operate whispery conversation or REALLY LOUD EXCLAMATIONS, which isn't helped by the dialogue itself taken from the 'How to Write Horror Movie Scripts' handbook. The central cast try to invest everything into it with Aaron Paul and Mike Erwin taking things Very Seriously indeed. They're aided by a very shouty and crotchety performance from Roger Perry (eagle-eyed Trek fans, yes that is Captain John Christopher of TOS fame) who just gets increasingly more exasperated with the situation. Me too, Captain Christopher, me too.
It's all looking a bit serious and po-faced. And then Scoot McNairy shows up. McNairy, so great in Monsters, hams it up as a hillbilly junkyard owner, complete with comedy accent and jam-jar glasses. It's his arrival that pretty much stumps any attempt to take this film seriously such is the extent of the stereotype. He even wears dungarees for crying out loud. Suddenly, here is a character who has wandered in from a Scooby Doo episode who by all accounts should be the murderer and it makes this whole exercise worthwhile. He states the obvious, he runs around like a lunatic and panics at the first sign of trouble. He shares way too much information about his uncle's colostomy bag. Most importantly of all, he's hilarious.
And therein lies the trouble with Wreckage. There's a nagging feeling throughout that this might have actually made a good movie or at the very least a passable horror (there are no scares here). If you stripped away the killer's back story (and made them look at least a little different when in disguise) and just focused on the group of young people who go to a junkyard and die in a variety of ways aspect of the story, it'd be quite neat. There's a Final Destination level of humour that it strives for and often hits at the expense of any tensions; McNairy's hick is a classic example of this, whilst one of the shock deaths would not look out of place in the aforementioned franchise. However, everyone else seems to be playing it straight, especially Mike Erwin who tries to imbue everything he says with gravitas, but instead just sounds a little constipated.
Even with its flaws, or perhaps because of them, Wreckage is very entertaining. It manages to spectacularly flub its landing and yet somehow you don't really care. You spend half your time trying to work out what sequences are related to which, why characters are making decisions that are even more stupid than your standard horror movie victim and just what film Scoot McNairy thinks he's signed up for. It would be an excellent film to play a horror cliche drinking game to. Perhaps with something weak, because there's one at least every five minutes. Please drink sensibly everyone. And save one for me.
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