green river | sam taybi | justin beaupre | tim durr | james fields | kristina hughes | danielle franke | bruce peterson | crime | drama | thriller | united states | isolated | isolation | woods | robert n. lee | darlene coen | gary coen | jade seefeldt | brian seefeldt
Film: Green River
Director: Sam Taybi
Writers: Justin Beaupre, Tim Durr, James Fields and Sam Taybi
Starring: Kristina Hughes, Danielle Franke and Bruce Peterson
This is a movie that I watched due to it being in a compilation pack that I won from a podcast. I’ve had this in my possession for a few years and decided to watch it. That pack by the way is called 8 Midnight Horror Movies – Hatchets & Cleavers. This is also another one that I don’t necessarily think is a horror movie from this pack. It does go dark enough in the third act for me to include it here. However, it doesn’t feature hatchets or cleavers.
Synopsis: haunted by her sister’s mysterious disappearance years ago at Green River, Charisma Kavanagh (Danielle Franke) returns to silence her ghosts and make peace with the past.
We start this movie seeing a convertible driving along a road. There are deep woods on either side. Driving is Allison Chase (Kristina Hughes). With her is Charisma. They are heading up to a cabin that belonged to Charisma’s family. They stopped off to get gas. It is there that Allison learns there are a high number of missing persons in the area. We also see that she has a moment where she zones out. She takes a pill to help ground her.
Outside with the car, Charisma realizes she knows the guy pumping the gas. His name is Charlie (Robert N. Lee) and he dated Charisma’s sister when they were younger. Allison gets jealous and causes them to leave. I wondered at this point if they were dating or just friends.
Our couple then goes to a diner for food. They order salads, but what they get isn’t what they were expecting. They pay and leave but get nervous as a man does as well. He drives a pick-up truck. This guy is also heading the same way they are. There is then an odd standoff as Charisma doesn’t tell her to turn, causing Allison to turn around. This occurs when the pick-up is stopped, allowing Allison to go. The problem is that it is violating the laws of the road and the truck should go first. To put an end to this, Allison proceeds.
They settle in and head to bed. Their car alarm kept going off that night. Charisma tells Allison to just turn it off, but being that she is from the city, she refuses. She wants to know if someone messes with it as it is a long trip back to town. The problem is that the next morning, her battery is dead. The truck pulls up to the house and this causes the women to hide. They decide to steal his truck to head for help. This is just the start of the nightmare.
That is about the extent of what I wanted to give for my recap of the story as well as to introduce our characters. Before delving deeper, I did want to preface that this is a low-budget movie. I want to commend everyone involved here for making this. That is more than I can say. With that taken care, I think this has some good things going for it, but where they decided to go didn’t work for me. Part of the problem that I can see is that there are so many writers on this project. I’m wondering if there were too many ideas introduced and pieces were chopped to fit things together that don’t necessarily fit.
The first thing I should go over would be the crux of this movie. Charisma’s sister disappeared a while ago. Allison and she are going to a family cabin. I’m guessing to clear their heads as well as to help her get over it. We see there are a bunch of missing people posters. All of them women. I’m almost guessing that they borrowed from the ‘Green River Killer’. The only part of this that gets factored into the movie later is that Jack Walker (Bruce Peterson), who is the guy who left the diner and drove the pick-up, is accused of being the reason for all the disappearances. I think there’s an interesting idea here. It is one we’ve seen before though. Where this goes in the third act was something I wasn’t expecting and they could have leaned into that more.
I think I’ll shift over to talking about our three leads. Allison is an interesting character in that we know she has a condition. She has pills to keep it in check. We never learn what it is though. There is a moment where she loses her pills. My issue there is that she never checks for them before leaving the cabin. Charisma finds them, but it is too late. The other problem there is that it wouldn’t happen that fast, whatever the ailment is. I don’t have much to say about Charisma outside she is the reason they are coming here. The only fleshing out we get of her is that her sister is missing. She and Allison also bicker constantly which made me dislike them both. Jack on the other hand is someone that give back-story to and that’s it. We know that he is a veteran when he is looking at nature and hears things from the war. That also goes nowhere which was frustrating for me.
Since I’ve talked about the characters, let me go the acting. I’m not going to be too hard since they’re all amateurs. I’ve already said that I can’t stand Hughes and Franke’s interactions. All they do is fight and bicker. They try to make Allison’s character more interesting, but it comes off a bit flat. She does play crazy well enough; I will give her that. I did like Peterson in his role. None of them are given a lot to work with so I am factoring that in. The rest of the cast is fine. They’re locals, friends and family. They were used in the best way which I can appreciate.
The last things to go into would deal with filmmaking. I’d say that the cinematography is fine. They don’t do anything too out of the normal with it. The nature shots we got look good though. I will credit that. It does give that feeling of being stranded from town. There’s not a lot in the way of effects. I did see a slip-up with a computer effect where instead of a flash from a gun, it said ‘media’. That made me chuckle. Other than that, I did notice an issue with mixing as there was wind during a scene in the car. This is just another aspect that doesn’t help. The soundtrack other than that was fine.
In conclusion, I wasn’t a big fan of this movie. I think there was some interesting things that they could work with but didn’t. It could be ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’. This was filmed in Montana and that made it look great. It also makes it feel isolated, which is good. This is boring though, which isn’t good for a film with a 90-minute runtime. The acting was amateurish, unfortunately to say. There just isn’t a lot positive I can say outside of that.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 10