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David Twohy's A PERFECT GETAWAY isn't nearly perfect enough for (the no longer embargoed) Massawyrm!!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. It’s always frustrating to write about a film like this, especially for someone like me who tries desperately to keep as much as possible out of the review so readers can enjoy discovering a film the way it was intended to be discovered: on the screen. But sometimes, in cases like this and another recent release ORPHAN, it becomes essential to let the audience know that what they are walking into is a twist film. Because in films like both of these, the twist is everything. The film lives and dies in that twist. And it is absolutely impossible to review properly without mentioning this fact. (NOTE: I will not be mentioning what exactly that twist is – just that it exists.) Now, that said, I kind of like A PERFECT GETAWAY. Kind of. I’ve been a fan of David Twohy’s for quite some time. I love PITCH BLACK and BELOW and enjoyed THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK the first time around (although I loathe his director’s cut.) And once again this is a film both written and directed by him. Trouble is, I understand exactly why he wanted to make this film as well as where it went wrong. The finale of this film, in fact the bulk of the third act, is incredible. It is a breathless, twisty, ruthlessly badass finale that is very worthy of your time. It is absolutely clear that Twohy’s love for this material stems entirely from the third act – from the turn on up to its final moments. Unfortunately, there are two acts before it – two meandering and pedestrian acts that are trying to discreetly drop all of the requisite pieces of setup for the third act to work properly without tipping off the audience to what it is up to. And if you watch closely, you’ll notice that the film lacks the skill at sleight of hand necessary to successfully keep its secret from the observant. And at one point it tips its hand and the more story-minded among you should be able to figure out what Twohy is doing. A PERFECT GETAWAY is the story of a newlywed couple who decide to take a 3-day hike to an isolated side of a Hawaiian island to visit a remote and romantic beach. Along the way they encounter three different couples and…DUN DUN DUN…the news that there has been a murder on another island – two newlyweds – and the police are seeking another couple…who may have fled to another island. Which couple are the murderers? That’s the question the film wants you to ask yourself on a blood free hour or so trek through the Hawaiian wilderness. No bodies. No running for their lives. A hike. While you try to figure out what’s going on. Compounding the problem is that one of the main characters is a screenwriter (Steve Zahn) and begins discussing making movies with one of the other characters (Timothy Olyphant). As they make little Hollywood storytelling in-jokes - one of which pertains to the plot of the film itself - it sets you to thinking about what is really going on; especially when nothing particularly interesting is happening onscreen. At that point it’s not a very big leap to discover the twist by yourself. Fortunately, Twohy is a smart guy and the twist isn’t some left-field, whack-job “oh fuck no” moment that doesn’t make any sense. On the contrary, everything is perfectly supported by the breadcrumbs he’s left all the way back to the first act. But that fact doesn’t make it any more satisfying a twist, or even a particularly good one. HOWEVER, and this is a big god damned however, once Twohy has the twist out of his system and he’s explained every last detail, the movie he really was dying to make begins. And it is out-fucking-standing. He starts pulling camera, editing and pacing tricks out of his bag. Every single injury characters suffer FUCKING HURTS. And the film becomes just plain mean, refusing to play fair. It goes from Ho-hum to HOLY FUCK in the span of a three minute flashback and it does not let up until the film’s final moments. Every single breadcrumb gets picked back up and put into play and it becomes apparent that this right here was what Twohy had in his mind the whole time – he just couldn’t figure out how to make the first two acts engaging enough while trying to get us there. Does the third act save the film? Absolutely. But not enough to make truly apologize for the first two. The performances range from solid to excellent with both Zahn and Olyphant stealing the show every chance they get. Gorgeously shot, we saw this digitally projected and the tropical paradise really looked incredible. All of the visual blood and gore effects hit all the right disturbing notes. And even the background cast all hit their marks. The film’s only problem is the meandering pace of the beginning and the range of feeling people will have on the nature of the twist. Overall, I like it. The third act had me on the edge of my seat and occasionally reeling at some of the brutal injuries. Having just recently watched ORPHAN - a film so enamored with its own twist that it phoned in its final 15 minutes - I was really happy to see that Twohy wasn’t willing to coast upon the power of surprise. But I have to admit I was pretty restless and annoyed that the film was being so coy about its mystery up until that point. It’s worth checking out, but not nearly playing in the same league overall as PITCH BLACK or BELOW.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 7, 2009, 12:55 a.m. CST

    I think I'll wait for cable

    by ottomatic

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 12:57 a.m. CST


    by The InSneider

    i bet i know what it is. that newlyweds line was the giveaway.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 12:58 a.m. CST

    The killer or killers were already spoiled for me.

    by ottomatic

    So while it does sound like a decent enough movie I'll wait.Does Milla get naked in this?

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 12:58 a.m. CST

    hopefully this movie will fail on an epic level

    by martinlutherkrangjr

    so that there is no chance of a sequel to the godawful chronicles of riddick.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1 a.m. CST

    I doubt it will fail on an epic scale

    by ottomatic

    I also doubt we will see a sequel to riddick unless it is a comic, video game or dtv release.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:02 a.m. CST

    DVD renter for sure

    by lockesbrokenleg

    It sounds like some Lifetime thing.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Hollywood makes great movies on

    by Trannyformers_Apologist

    a continuous basis! <P>Just look at Fast and Furious, Friday the 13th, Race to Witch Mountain, Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator, Angels and Demons, Transformers 2, Ice Age 3, and Gi Joe.<P> HIGH QUALITY TOP DOLLAR MOOSESHIT FOR ALL THE MOUTH BREATHERS AND COCK GOBBLERS

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Trannyformers_Apologist - Good job asshole

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Most of those movies you mentioned are remakes or based on other mediums. You are such a fuckass.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:24 a.m. CST

    This review was just as bad the second time.


    Kidding. But not really.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:56 a.m. CST

    What the fuck was wrong with Star Trek?

    by OutlawsDelejos

    Wait, don't worry about it. I won't be checking this thread again.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 1:56 a.m. CST

    If you've never been to the Na Pali coast......

    by otm shank

    I highly recommend it. It is absolutely fucking gorgeous.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 2:26 a.m. CST

    Your new portrait sucks!

    by CZ

    What happened to the one with the snake?

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 2:42 a.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 3:02 a.m. CST

    AVATAR - Fucking your eyeballs in 2009.

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    nothing else matters

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 3:11 a.m. CST

    Steve Zahn is the bad-guy?

    by The Dum Guy

    That's my guess if I have to have a twist.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 3:42 a.m. CST


    by vettebro

    I'm on the fence now. See it at the movies or wait for the DVD?

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 3:51 a.m. CST

    Sorry Massa, that review was kinda bumpy

    by belasco_house

    I feel travel-sick

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 4:27 a.m. CST

    Rather watch GIJoe than this "Campy" shitfest.

    by Stalkeye

    Unless I get to fuck Milla, it's an instant pass like gas out her ass.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Massa are you freaking gay???

    by DOGSOUP

    That's the only reason why I can see you wouldn't mention Milla ONCE....

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I find your lack of Jovovich disturbing, Massa

    by YackBacker

    What a sad oversight to your "review."

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 5:09 a.m. CST

    the twist

    by mynemaborat

    i just want to know what the twist is? anyone know? write a big SPOILER as the heading to your post and then write what the twist is... maybe thats a bit cruel to people who actually want to see this though

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 6:29 a.m. CST

    So u didnt know him from the Arrival and Warlock?

    by ominus

    although the first movie i saw from twohy,was the time-travel flick with jeff daniels.great movie.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 6:33 a.m. CST

    wait Milla is in the movie?

    by ominus

    i am already sold.hope she has a nude scene somewhere in it.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Embargo? Sigh. AICN Team....

    by ScottinDC

    Another example of the steep decline of this site. Fuck embargos, Massa. The only studios who enforce them are the ones absolutely terrified about the shitty quality of their product(s). Fuck the embargo, AICN staff. Start showing backbone and stop letting the studios threaten you with a loss of 'access'. They don't have the balls, I assure you. They need you more than you apparently no.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 6:58 a.m. CST


    by ScottinDC

    Typing too fast without coffee!

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Milla? Why no mention?

    by turketron_2

    Shiiiiiiiit man, and no mention of whether she gets naked or not in this (I'm guessing no). As for this... I'll save my money for GI JOOOEEEEE

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 8:14 a.m. CST


    by SolidStateSociety

    Rated R for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use. Guess not.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 8:19 a.m. CST

    When you said there's a twist

    by johnnyangelheart

    You basically gave it all away. Now that we know that there's a twist, I think we can all probably guess what it is.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 8:21 a.m. CST

    I still can't buy the plot point

    by angry kitty

    that Milla and Zahn are a couple. They look awkward together, at least from the previews.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Yeah, I think its pretty dumb to admit there's a twist

    by D.Vader

    I think its better for people to discover that themselves so that they won't be focused the entire time they're watching on trying to figure it out.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Are you people high?

    by Bruce of all Trades

    It's evident from the trailers that the movie has a twist. The murderers are one of the three couples (Jovovich and Zahn, Olyphant and Sanchez or Hemsworth and Doctor Block)

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Mr Trades, I respectfully disagree...

    by johnnyangelheart

    The trailer presents Jovovich and Zahn as an innocent newlywed couple surrounded by some unsavory types. Now that we know there's a twist, I go, "Hmmmmmmm....."

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Noop, what Massa meant to say is that they DO the twist

    by skimn

    along with the frug and limbo..

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 9:49 a.m. CST


    by Bruce of all Trades

    The trailer also says that authorities are looking for a man and a woman whom are suspected of murder. And Zahn and Jovovich meet two couples (Hemsworth/Shelton and Olyphantastic/Sanchez), so the twist is obviously which of those two couples is the murdering one. Or it might be even cornier than that and Zahn and Jovs are the killers. Either way, anyone who paid attention to the trailer probably figured out that at some point there's gonna be a reveal of concerning something that the audience isn't meant to believe up until that point.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 10:01 a.m. CST

    The twist...

    by Fisting_Nell_Carter

    Okay here it is: Zahn is the killer. But more than that, Jovovich's character, only exists in his head. Zahn's character has actually been living on the island, "repeating" his "honeymoon" over and over for years, and every time a couple comes to the island, he murders them after being goaded into it by "Head" wife.

  • Aug. 7, 2009, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Milla oiled up for a game of TWISTER?

    by ToMonicker

    Just watching the promo, you think Zahn and Milla? No way! So, I could totally buy that Milla's a hallucination. Hee, hee.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 7:20 a.m. CST


    by BranMakMorn

    Who gives a shit if there's a twist? The direction, acting, thrills and the themes behind it were all well done. I enjoyed this film regardless that I figured out the bad guys. People seeing GI Joe instead, gee I wonder who the bad guys are there? Perfect Getaway deserves more than what people who have NOT seen this film are commenting on.