April 13, 2018 Accident (Movie Review)
Stranger Danger! As children, most are taught never to talk or take rides from people they do not know. If they feel as though the situation warrants, this phrase is supposed to be shouted from the top of their little lungs and to run as fast and far away as possible. As those children get older, though, the idea of Stranger Danger begins to fade and rests in the back of their minds. After all, everyone is a stranger at some point until a risk is taken to get to know that person.
All that in mind, what if the risk is taken and it is not just the stranger that poses the ultimate threat, but the ride itself? What if it just might be the last ride that will ever be taken? Released digitally on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 through Well Go USA Entertainment, Accident is meant to be a thrilling look into what might happen if the wrong ride is taken.
The debut feature length film from Writer and Director Dan Tondowski, Accident follows the story of two teeangers, Caroline (Roxane Hayward: Death Race: Inferno 2013, Saints & Strangers 2015) and Jess (Stephanie Schildknecht: uSkroef noSexy 2012, One Last Look 2012), who plan to go to a music festival in Lake Tahoe for the weekend. Caroline’s mother (Uncredited) drops the pair off at the bus station because the plan is for the girls to take the bus there and back after the weekend is over. Once there, Caroline surprises Jess and informs her they are not taking a bus, but a couple of guys they know are going to bring them instead. Once the bus is gone; however, the girls receive a text from their ride cancelling their plans. Jess wants to call Caroline’s mother back for help, but Caroline refuses. She convinces Jess that they can just hitchhike and catch a ride to the festival.
After a while of failed attempts, Fred (Tyrone Keogh: Blood Diamond 2006, 24 Hours to Live 2017) and Thomas (Keenan Arrison: Dominion 2014, SAF3 series) finally stop and offer to take the girls where they want to go. Jess is very wary at first. She does not trust them. Once again, though, Caroline convinces her that they will be safe because, after all, the guys are awfully attractive. Jess lets her guard down and is rewarded with Fred attempting to rape her in the backseat. Caroline tries to help her friend, but in doing so she jostles the driver Thomas. Thomas loses control of the car on the wet and slick road and it flips over several times before finally resting upside down at the edge of a cliff overlooking a ravine.
Now the girls are injured and trapped out in the middle of nowhere, with guys they do not know, and no one knows where they are. Even worse, they soon learn that Thomas and Fred had stolen the car. What the girls are unaware of is that the owners are extremely dangerous people who are tracking them in the air by black helicopter and on land by impersonating law enforcement. Caroline and Jess are in the fight for their lives. Can they safely escape the wrecked car in spite of their injuries? Will Thomas and Fred even allow them to do so? Even if they do, will the men who are after the stolen car allow them to continue to survive?
On the surface, Accident has all the elements of a fantastically thrilling film. What is more terrifying than being injured and trapped in a car; something most people are in on a daily basis? One of the many issues lies in convenience. The car goes off into a ravine out on a stretch of remote highway, yet there are power lines and light poles stationed on the very edges of the cliff. This allows power line to disengage and become one of the many obstacles for the foursome to have to navigate to escape from the car.
Why exactly would there be lights in a remote area that is so far removed from civilization? How convenient is it that Fred and Thomas just so happen to steal the car of men who own a black helicopter and are tracking the car? If they were tracking the car from the beginning, then why did it take so long for them to discover the foursome? There are many other examples of this in the film, but these are just two of the most glaring. Action is important in order to move the plot along, but action for the sake of action with no grounding cause, especially in a film that for the majority is completely realistic, forces the viewer out of the realm of entertainment and back into reality.
Continuity is another major issue. Wounds and blood appear and disappear depending on the new dire situation the characters are in. At one point three of the four characters claim to have either broken their legs or have become paralyzed from injuries, yet magically they are able to run and walk without any issue. Cuts, puncture, and bullet wounds are only present in the scenes where they are discovered. Adrenaline and shock can excuse some of this, but not all.
It is very apparent and to the detriment of the enjoyment of the viewer that this film was written by a man. Caroline and Jess are supposed to be best friends, but it is clear early on that Caroline does not like Jess very much. Almost every chance that she gets, Caroline slut shames Jess because guys are more attracted to her. This even goes as far as Caroline blaming Jess for almost being raped and causing the accident. Fred tries to rape Jess, even going as far as telling her “You’ll like it,” yet after the accident both she and Caroline look to him for guidance and to be their hero.
No longer do they listen to their own instincts or even attempt to help themselves (which they were doing before they realized that Fred was still alive). It is almost as if neither girl can think for themselves because there is a man present. They both seem more concerned about the guys than they are themselves or each other. Even in extreme circumstances most women would not look at their would-be rapists for any kind of help. As soon as this happens, any connection the characters might have had to the thinking viewer vanishes.
At a glimpse, Accident has all of the makings of being a successful enjoyable film, but in the end, it falls short. Continuity and convenience can be overlooked, but when the two main female characters are so stereotyped into the male gaze, it is difficult to forgive any minor flaw. It is for all these reasons that CrypticRock gives Accident 2 out of 5 stars.