Can you believe that the end of the year is almost here? I guess the saying is true: the older you get, the faster the years go by. As the year comes to a close, I hope that I will want to do more reviews in the new year. This last year saw my post output drop to an all time low. While I don’t expect to break records next year, I certainly hope it increases once again. For my last review here, at least for this year, I decided on a movie called Rogue River. Even though IMDb gives it a 2012 date, it has actually been around in film festivals since at least 2010. Since this is a somewhat new movie, and I need to get it sent back to Netflix, I figured I would give it a watch for here.
Mara (Michelle Page) has taken a trip to a place called Rogue River in order to spread her father’s ashes. Just before she can though, she meets Jon (Bill Moseley). Jon seems to mean well, but of course Mara doesn’t want him around during such a private moment. Jon talks her into not spreading the ashes and helps her back to her car, which is now missing for some reason. Jon says that the sheriff probably had it towed, but of course that doesn’t explain why his wasn’t. Jon takes Mara to his place where she meets Lea (Lucinda Jenney). Lea offers to let Mara stay to eat with them, and stay the night so Mara can get a fresh start on where her car went in the morning. Of course with this being a horror movie, you can be sure that Jon and Lea aren’t as nice as they appear to be.
Rogue River was directed by Jourdan McClure and has some beautiful shots of Oregon where it was filmed at. The plot for this movie is really nothing new. There have been plenty of films before this one, and likely after this one, that have a nice couple who turns out to be not so nice after all. I try not to judge any movie off the ones I have watched before it. The movie in question will mostly likely fail all the time if I set it up to be as good as a favorite. Even so, Rogue River can’t seem to get passed the “been there, done that” feel. The biggest problem that it has is that it was very easy to see what was coming up. While I couldn’t have told you how the movie was going to end once I knew all the characters, it was easy to see what was going to happen before it did. Another problem is that the film starts close to the end of the film. We see Mara with a handmade necklace and a gun. She eventually raises the gun to her own head before it cuts away and then we see her driving up to the river. I don’t always have a problem with this type of introduction, but in this case it gives away some important information later in the film. Once we know where the necklace comes from, and that person’s relationship with Mara, you know something bad is going to happen since Mara ends up with the necklace. Rogue River does have some moments that keeps it from being a lower tier horror film at least. The relationship I talked about above was a little bit of a surprise. I figured she knew him, him being played by Chris Coy, but I guessed wrong in how she knew him. It was a nice little surprise. There is also and interesting, yet painful, way that Mara is kept quiet.
Rogue River isn’t a gory film. There is a nasty looking cut at one point, but that is as far as it really goes. People get shot, but it is always off camera. The acting was pretty good. Bill Moseley, whom I never seem to know it is him until I see his name for some reason, always gives his all. It is too bad that he plays the bad guy so much. I think he would do well as the good guy more often. Some complained that casting Moseley in this roll spoiled the plot for them since they just assumed he would be a bad guy. Lucinda Jenney was interesting in her role. It was strange because even though she is also a bad person, she still has a sweetness about her. It doesn’t take away from her being the bad person that she turns out to be. Yes she is crazy, but I couldn’t help feel sorry for her for some reason. Michael Cudlitz has a small role as the local Sheriff.
While I did enjoy watching Rogue River, I had to smile just because most of the time I could call what was about to happen. Even a final twist at the end isn’t much of a surprise. Well...it is, but not because of the twist, just because of what the twist is. One of those things I know I shouldn’t give away in a review. I must say though, I did enjoy the last exchange between Mara and Jon, which I’m using in part for my tag at the end. In the end, the only thing I wasn’t sure about was what Jon and Lea wanted with Mara. It was never clear for me until it because very obvious. Even then, I’m not real sure why they wanted this to happen given Jon and Lea’s relationship with each other. If, and this is a big if for some people, you can get past the predictability of the plot, then I’m sure you will enjoy it as well. If not, then it will probably fall to the below average film for you. I’m tempted to give it my slightly below average score, but for me it was saved by a few key scenes. Just barely at least. Not really a film I would tell anyone to go out of their way for, but if you happen across it someday, give it a try. One never knows, you just might end up really liking it.
3 out of 5 Never call a woman a coward!