Director: Levan Bakhia
Starring: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Dean Geyer
European Première – FrightFest 28th August 2015
Dare to step off
When three friends decide to take a vacation through the country of Georgia, off the beaten path, little do they know of the events to ensue. Daniel (Dean Geyer) and Alicia (Spencer Locke) are expecting to get married, happily backpacking through the wilderness with Daniel’s best friend Chris (Sterling Knight) before the special day, but when the relationship turns sour the trip takes a much darker turn. If the thought of stepping on an un-triggered landmine makes you squirm, then what follows may be hard to digest.
I was initially underwhelmed with the beginning of the movie and was not sure much potential was going to show throughout the running time of the film. The opening twenty minutes was a cliché mess of poor writing and acting that seemed to be headed toward a typical American horror film with younger actors. However, I’m glad I stuck it out and waited as the script tightened back up with some sharper writing and more believable performances as time elapsed. To boot, the plot, seemingly centred around a landmine and the poor wretch who stepped on it, evolved past the obvious into something a little darker than the expected Saw-booby trap setup.
Once the plot lines up, the film turns from a simple isolation horror story into a film of depraved madness and revenge. Kote Tolordava steals the film as Ilya, our purveyor of aforementioned madness, and his arrival spins the story arc into a test of will, both for the viewer and the characters, that mirrors such films as Funny Games or Last House on the Left. Although the cast is light I never felt as though something bigger would have meant better and was hooked as soon as the film intensified. Even the shaky acting during the opening was excusable as both Spencer Locke and Sterling Knight give out some uncomfortable, intense performances for the remainder.
Sound is minimal, highlighted at tense moments and only for a matter of seconds. This fortifies the acting and allows Kote to remain the centrepiece during all key moments save for the ending. His dialogue is a shining example of how much can be done with so little, as Ilya goes from likeable to terrifying in a manner of minutes. There is a surreal quality to some of the more off putting scenes, as though a character like Ilya would not be capable of the atrocities he commits. The effects are also brief and lightly handled, but who needs gore and over the top theatrics when raw acting and visceral scenes push the film’s value beyond the superficial?
I was surprised by Landmine Goes Click, and after watching the film will seek it out for my ever growing horror movie collection. Some films take time to sink in, stumbling through a few rough patches and missteps along the way. As unnerving as it becomes, this is a movie worth watching. If you do not mind indulging in the bleak or stepping outside of your comfort zone, push through the first portion of the movie and continue trekking until you find what you are looking for. I guarantee it will not disappoint.
For more info please visit – www.film.landminegoesclick.com