Get Gone. 2020.
Directed by Michael Thomas Daniel.
Starring Lin Shaye, Robert Miano, Rico E. Anderson, Weston Cage Coppola, Bailey Coppola, and Cory Crouser.
A hoax busting group goes on a team-building retreat to Whiskey Flats, OR and runs into trouble as they cross paths with an invasive drilling company that is warring with a very private family.
So…Get Gone. Michael Thomas Daniel tries his hand at hicksploitation à la The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or Wrong Turn, but levels of amateurish execution are too unamusing to overcome. Bless Lin Shaye’s zest for staying busy, but her name recognition isn’t enough to carry this low-rent slasher walkthrough. Rough around the edges in all the wrong ways, from horrendous editing cuts to makeup purchased during a Halloween surplus store’s end-of-season sale. It’s just, in the plainest terms, not a very good movie. I know that’s not the most eloquent or flowery description, but sometimes there’s nothing else to say.
In Daniel’s movie, a group of “filmmakers” who stage hoax murder videos take a team-building retreat in the middle of Whiskey Flats’ nowhere. Their fearless survivalist leader sets up camp not too far from the Maxwell property, rumored to house weirdo albino children. Not a good choice, especially since a fracking company keeps strong-arming the Maxwells into selling their land – which only makes them angry. Cut to the Maxwell boys going out for a midnight killing spree, stumbling upon the sleeping coworkers who instantly become their new targeted victims. If only those greedy drilling meanies would have let Mama (Lin Shaye) and her “monster” children live in peace.
First of all, the film’s unique setup that opens on a faux killer skit is utterly meaningless as the film progresses. Grant (Bradley Stryker) and his “Hoax Busters” team are only defined by their talents and equipment for the brief introduction, quickly stripped of found footage mockery once led to their forest-thick doom. Dialogue is both written and delivered with blandness (stale “titty” jokes and weak motivations), which leaves little to invest in. Especially true when trying to sell one supporting clown’s stoner-silly humor.
The Maxwell clan is going for “menacing,” between Ma’s threats, Pa’s calmer disdain, Patton (Weston Cage Coppola) and his brother Apple (Bailey Coppola). Shaye, as Mama, plays “GET OFF MY LAWN!” cranky when authorities come knocking, pit against her maternal warmth for two boys (and a further secret) with their own dungeon playpen. Patton is supposed to be the brains, a hulker, while Apple is the infantile, mask-wearing slasher who acts on primal instincts. An interesting enough backstory, but their albino pigmentation looks like patted-on talcum powder and their methods are over-the-top cheesy. There’s zero horror value in Patton’s “scariest” lines or Apple’s erratic running through woodlands waving a scythe. Killers just as definitionless as their marks.
Speaking of horror, Get Gone’s budget ensures there’s no predatory terror or dread worth glimpsing. Cameras never capture deaths because practical effects are too expensive, as demises are signified by, wait for it – a red light filter over the character just before Apple or Patton completes the deed. Those SFX “highlights” we do get are cut-rate and poorly assembled, thinking of when Ma swipes at a ranger’s hand with her ax – apparently making contact even though neither actor sells the occurrence – to then have the ranger pick up his fingers that were supposedly chopped off. Any sequence that involves action or slaughter is a visual mess full of choppy workaround angles and the most minuscule payoffs, which is the film’s biggest sin.
Well, maybe no the *biggest* upon more strenuous recollection. There’s a lot to digest for a film that leaves no lasting footprint.
The biggest sin of Get Gone is an atrocious, thoughtless ending that already challenges The Turning’s early claim to the “Worst 2020 Horror Movie Ending” crown. No character is properly dispatched, the red “death” filter is used multiple times (even more insulting than Uwe Boll’s House Of The Dead death screen), and what we witness is the lowest common finale denominator. Something that’s meant to be “edgy” but we’ve seen a kajillion times. I laughed, I cried, but mostly just out of pure frustration. You don’t earn points for simply starting and finishing a horror story. You, the filmmaker, have to try and at least find some hook or individuality or climatic blow that makes even the most generic slasher setups worthwhile.
Making movies is difficult, toilsome work. Blockbusters or indies. I try best to allow any title their fairest shake, but Get Gone will be a film you never hear of past my review nor remembered for its technical efficiencies. Performances are as clueless (in character) as they are unenthusiastic, narrative flow hacked to bits, and budgetary constraints only ever a hindrance that Michael Thomas Daniel fails to conquer. It’s a slasher film that only understands the simplest formula of the subgenre – stalk and kill – yet can’t even execute such a minimalist horror architecture with staying power. A run-through-the-motions that’s one long sustained yawn. No gold to mine in these hills, one might say.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Matt spends his after-work hours posting nonsense on the internet instead of sleeping like a normal human. He seems like a pretty cool guy, but don’t feed him after midnight just to be safe (beers are allowed/encouraged). Follow him on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd (@DoNatoBomb).