Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Every week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
I’ve decided to embrace my unintentional foreign film streak. I pledge that from now on, I will recommend nothing BUT foreign films…until such time as I get bored or it becomes even slightly inconvenient to do so.
This week we have a nifty little survival slasher suspense dealie from the UK called Wilderness (free on Netflix, 2.99 on Amazon), which sends a bunch of juvenile delinquents on a surprisingly dangerous camping trip. Am I alone in thinking even the thuggiest of thugs seem jaunty and refined when they speak with a British accent? Like at any moment they might take a break from beating the shit out of each other to have a nice cup of tea.
Wilderness walks a well-traveled path but manages to toss in enough novel ideas to keep things interesting. It’s almost like the filmmakers heard about the survival horror sub-genre and thought it might be fun to try, but did no further research. The result is a mixed bag. On one hand you have to put up with generic twists that savvy audiences will smell out miles in advance. (Gee, I wonder which of our gangland boy scouts has a secret.) But you also get deviations from industry standard plot progression that might not have occurred to horror aficionados. I found it particularly refreshing when both the killer and his motive were revealed relatively early on. It allows the audience to focus on the fear of being hunted without wasting energy on the typical who/why guessing game on which most slasher type films rely.
Added bonus: You don’t know who Toby Kebbell is by name and before I looked him up, neither did I. But the moment the character Callum showed up in Wilderness, I definitely recognized him from his outstanding turn in 2008’s RocknRolla as junkie rocker Johnny Quid. Rocknrolla is easily as entertaining as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Kebbell is nothing short of amazing. I truly, truly hope that whoever owns the rights realizes this before Kebbell gets too old to anchor a proper sequel.