What do you need to make a movie? Big bucks? Lots of CGI? boobs? I argue that all you need is a good story (assuming you will always have good actors).
‘Don’t Blink’ is a 2014 horror sci-fi movie written and directed by Travis Oates (the voice of Piglet in the 2011 Winnie the Pooh movie) and starring Brian Austin Green (Kickboxer 2) and Mena Suvari (American Pie) and centres around ten friends holidaying in a mountain cabin when one by one they disappear.
Films like ‘Don’t Blink’ always stir my inner filmmaker. Character driven, single location, clever camera shots and good sound to avoid spending money on CGI and you can make a brilliant movie! As long as your story is good. What we have here is almost there.
We begin ‘Don’t Blink’ by meeting all of our characters, learning some back story for the important relationships. However, and this criticism is only relevant for the opening sequences, the exposition we are given in the dialogue feels somewhat forced. While it is information that tell us who the characters are, they are asking each other questions that in real life, the answers would already be known amongst friends.
The actors in this movie are all around mid 20s to early 30s it seems, and perhaps why I find their life issues and stages relatable. The over used high school / college age group is not clichéd here and I find that refreshing.
When we reach the cabin, something is wrong straight away, the whole environment is deserted, a breakfast spread left half eaten, kitchen taps running and a recent fire in the mantle. It is in this strange and stressing situation we see the divide in leadership from our “alphas” in the group, one urging to leave, the other seeing the benefit in staying. A lack of gas being the main reason leaving would prove just as dangerous as staying.
Pretty quickly our group start disappearing, literally into thin air. I believe the high number of characters in this story is to allow normal deduction to reach the conclusion that people are simply disappearing as this reason would be no ones first thought.
Characters ark throughout the disequilibrium with Jack (Brian Austin Green) relenting on his original leading alpha bravado in realising he is out of his depth and Alex (Zack Ward – A Christmas Story) snapping under the pressure of having the right idea in the beginning but out votes from carrying it out.
It is in Zack Ward’s performance that we have something special. All the actors are accomplished and believable, but Zack creates a multi levelled human in times of extreme stress, and the script does well to ask some pretty deep moral questions. If you could do anything and there would be no trace whatsoever after you were gone, what would you do?
If this moral question was the overall theme of the movie, we would have a winner, but there’s no payoff. I can’t say it doesn’t hit the mark, because it feels like the mark wasn’t even aimed for. The reasoning for the events of the movie aren’t badly explained, they aren’t explained at all.
Perhaps I missed something along the way, perhaps it does ask questions and leaves the end ambiguous, perhaps the the whole movie is the impact of action vs consequence, but for me, a clever “wow” moment would have vastly improved my enjoyment for this great story. Hell, even a weak explanation would have been better than nothing at all.
Maybe I blinked and missed the point?