River Wild (Movie Review)

Inspired by the 1994 classic, River Wild is a reimagining of The River Wild and a standalone sequel. Starring Adam Brody (The O.C. series, Ready or Not 2019), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl series, The Roommate 2021) and Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave 2013, Brother Nature 2016), the film was directed by Ben Ketai who co-wrote the screenplay with Mike Nguyen Le.

River Wild / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (2023)

Released digitally and to Blu-Ray, as well as DVD on August 1, 2023 through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, River Wild follows estranged brother and sister Gray (Killam) and Joey (Meester) who reunite to embark on a white water rafting trip. Joining them is their childhood friend Trevor (Brody) who the siblings have a complicated history with. But what should be an exciting trip soon turns horrific when the group finds themselves at the mercy of a killer. As the group tries to work out a way to escape the person intent on harming them, long buried secrets
threaten to come to light. Can the siblings survive on the river wild? And if they do, will their relationship survive revelations that they hoped the other one would never hear?

For those fans of the 1994 film who are wondering how closely the films align, it is both good and bad news. The good news is that River Wild follows pretty much the same story – namely a rafting trip is disrupted by a hostage situation in which the characters must work together to find a way out. The main difference is that whilst the events in The River Wild happen by circumstance in a case of the family in the film being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the events that transpire in River Wild are borne from pre-existing relationships and tensions. This detail doesn’t really make a massive difference and the dynamics remain similar.

River Wild / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (2023)

The bad news is that, as discussed above, the two films are pretty similar. Enough so that River Wild feels slightly obsolete. This film certainly doesn’t feel like it could spark a ‘River Wild’ universe and there didn’t appear to be any fun easter eggs or homages to The River Wild. That aside, River Wild is still a fun watch. Firstly, it’s really well-paced. Coming in at under ninety minutes, that means that the audience does not have a long to wait until the action begins. The cast, which consists of real life spouses Meester and Brody, all play their parts well. And for the audiences who are more accustomed to seeing Meester and Brody in their more well known television roles will definitely enjoy seeing them play against part. Additionally, River Wild benefits from being filmed on location in Eastern Europe instead of in front of green screen. The scenery and locations are beautiful and add authenticity to the feeling of being in danger on the river.

Overall, River Wild is an enjoyable enough ride for those who like fast-paced Thrillers set in nature. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 3 out of 5 stars.

River Wild / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (2023)

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