Movies From the Black Lagoon: A Perfect Getaway

Movies From the Black Lagoon
A Perfect Getaway - 2009, Rated R
By Tom Doty

There is trouble in paradise when three couples on a Hawaiian vacation include a pair of serial killers in this lush thriller from the same guy who brought you "Pitch Black."
This one is hard to describe without giving away a shocking and extremely well conceived third act twist but here goes.
It starts like a comedy with our main couple, Cliff and Cydney, arriving at the island of Kauai. This is a perfect location that features rugged cliffs, lush fauna, and sea caves. They hook up with another couple, Nick and Gina, and travel together.
Along the way we find out some key things. The nerdy Cliff is a screenwriter whose first produced work has been handed over to a script doctor. His wife, Cydney, is his biggest fan and only wants to have his children (five and she knows what sex they will all be).
Nick is one of those shadowy army guys who served in a unit so secret that he'd have to kill you if he told you about it. Gina is pretty quiet so her background remains a mystery (usually that's a red light in one of these movies).
Pretty soon the atmosphere changes as Cliff learns (via his phone's internet connection) that authorities are searching the area for a pair of serial killers. Rains starts to fall just as Nick reveals that they are being followed. Nick shames Cliff into searching the jungle by heckling him with cat calls but it's Nick who gets lost (though he does return with a slaughtered goat for dinner) while Cliff espies a creepy couple (who gave him the' heebie jeebies 'in an earlier scene) on their trail.
Eventually the storm breaks and authorities land on the island to find the killers. They arrest the couple that Cliff saw in the woods, but you have to know that they aren't the culprits by now. Anybody who has seen one of these flicks will be hipped to that fact but brace yourself for the final twenty minutes as the true killers are revealed and a desperate fight for survival ensues.
In short you have to see this movie if you're a thriller fan. Gambling fans should check it out too as viewings of this film could lead to some heavy losses for people who think they have a sure thing with any of these suspects. The art of this film is that it shows you the killers at all times but cleverly shades their behavior so it seems rational up until the moment they go "psycho killer' on the rest of the cast.
Director (and writer) David Twohy pulls this off by casting some wonderful actors. Timothy Olyphant brings the right amount of menace and buffoonery to Nick. A running joke about his being impossible to kill works very well and is sure to entice most viewers into positioning him as the psycho. Milla Jovovich also has a great moment here as Cydney. The scene where she reveals the tragedy that led to her having simple ambitions will chill you to the bone. The showiest role goes to Steve Zahn as Cliff. Zahn has always been adept at playing wisecracking beta-males but here he steps up his game and shows that his days of menaced by truck driving serial killers (like he was in "Joy Ride") are over. This one is a keeper and provides plenty of eye candy before settling down into a finale that is brutal enough to appease "Saw" fans but clever enough to appeal to Alfred Hitchcock lovers as well.
Best Line: "I know, in some bent way, that your need for detachment fits my need for attachment."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.