A rural couple hides a dark secret until a stranger infiltrates their lives and offers a way out.
The cold open is a device used so often in modern cinema that its power is often overlooked or misused. Here we begin with a pair of hikers. Tired, dehydrated, they wander the forest and suddenly happen upon a woman carrying a jug (Lydia Wilson). They’ve been wandering for days and ask for help, direction, or anything that will lead them to civilization. She offers shelter and leads them to her home. As they approach the homestead a truck barrels toward them. Adam (Nick Blood) bolts out of the truck and holds them at gunpoint. Territorial, Adam forces the two lost hikers into the truck and motors back to the homestead as the woman watches.
Who is this couple out in the middle of the forest? What are they hiding that would warrant the kidnapping and possible murder of two strangers? What was in the jug that the woman was carrying? As an audience, we are intrigued and want to know the answers to questions that hold our interest. This is how you open a film. Still, written and directed by Takashi Doscher, is a slow-burn mystery that not only holds our attention, but it actually makes us care about the characters.
“What are they hiding that would warrant the kidnapping and possible murder of two strangers?”
After an informative title sequence, we are introduced to Lily (Madeline Brewer). A young woman from a bad home, she is doing everything in her power to survive cancer that is ravaging her body. It’s too bad that she wanders upon the same encampment as the previous hikers. Or is it?
I really wanted to read the journal. Were Adam and Ella leaving to die in the end? The previous couple shot their dog and died in the cave…why? What was Lilly planning to do in the end? (I suppose, live there, in secrecy.) So many unanswered questions. I have read a lot of bad reviews on other sites, but I found this well directed, acted…just wanted more details. I realize the writer left all that out on purpose.
I wanted to read what was in the journal as well. Yes Adam and Ella left to finally die in peace. I assume they shot the dog so it wouldn’t starve to death and the original owners died in the cave as a gravesite leaving the Deed pinned to the wall for anyone to take it. I guess Lilly was killing the only witnesses who knew where to get the Cure Water.