Two Thrillers from Anchor Bay
Carjacked (November 23/11)
The degree to which Carjacked ultimately fails to hold the viewer's interest is rather astonishing, as the movie boasts a seemingly can't-miss premise and two otherwise engaging performers in the central roles. The thin narrative follows Maria Bello's Lorraine as she and her young son (Connor Hill's Chad) are carjacked by a charismatic bank robber (Stephen Dorff's Roy), with the film subsequently detailing the power struggle that ensues between Bello and Dorff's respective characters. It's a promising setup that's employed to consistently underwhelming effect by director John Bonito, as the filmmaker, working from a script by Sherry and Michael Compton, proves unable to infuse the proceedings with even a hint of menace or suspense - with the movie's less-than-engrossing vibe exacerbated by Bello's oddly unconvincing performance and a continuing emphasis on hopelessly inauthentic dialogue. (This is to say nothing of the entirely pointless and laughably heavy-handed subplot revolving around Lorraine's ongoing attempts at standing up for herself.) The small-talk-heavy atmosphere subsequently results in a palpable lack of dread or suspense, with this vibe only heightened by the viewer's growing inability to wholeheartedly care about Lorraine's predicament (ie there's just nothing at stake here). By the time the ludicrously action-packed finale rolls around, Carjacked has confirmed its place as a disappointingly disposable thriller that simply isn't as good as it could (and should) have been.
Astonishingly dull and pervasively unwatchable, Walled In follows structural engineer Samantha Walczak (Mischa Barton) as she arrives at an isolated, sinister residential building to determine its weaknesses prior to its demolition - with problems ensuing as Samantha is increasingly drawn into the mystery surrounding the building's sordid past. It's worth noting that Walled In admittedly does get off to a fairly promising start, as filmmaker Gilles Paquet-Brenner opens the proceedings with a striking sequence involving the murder of a young girl. From there, however, Walled In morphs into a progressively tedious thriller that boasts more than a few similarities to the J-horror ripoffs of the mid 2000s - with the ongoing emphasis on Samantha's investigation into the building's history, as well as the creeping inclusion of dishearteningly surreal elements, confirming the movie's place as a hopelessly derivative waste of time. The film's atmosphere of utter tedium is perpetuated by the presence of unreasonably quirky supporting characters, and it's also worth noting that the movie suffers from the issues of logic that one might've expected (ie why does Samantha stay as long as she does?) The worthlessness of Walled In's first half is nothing compared to the atrocious and completely interminable final half hour, which is sure to drive away even the most patient of viewers and effectively cements the movie's place as an uncommonly incompetent and aggressively boring contemporary thriller.