I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find myself in the mood for a classic slasher.
But that’s the funny thing about reviewing movies, like that box of chocolates Tom Hanks told us about in the 90s, with film reviewing, you never know what you’re going to get.
So it was kismet of sorts that I got the chance to see GET GONE just when I was looking for a little hack and slash, so to speak. And fellow film freaks, it doesn’t get more classic than this.
In GET GONE a group of young folks who debunk internet myths decides to go out for a team-building weekend in the woods. Led by their guide, Craig (Adam Bitterman), they’re planning to spend three days out in nature in Whiskey Flats, Oregon. But that’s not all they’re doing. You see, there is a legend in this part of the country that tells of the ghoul babies. Creatures so hideous and deformed that they just can’t be real. Secretly this group of myth busters hopes to find out if there’s any truth to this urban legend.
Of course, there is. The legendary ghoul babies are really the children of Don and Mama Maxwell (Robert Miano and Lin Shaye, respectively). Patton (Weston Cage Coppola) and Apple (Bailey Coppola) aren’t exactly ghouls, however. Really they’re victims of poisoning resulting from oil fracking on their land, which left them with horrifyingly pale skin and possibly a little blood lust.
But maybe I’m being a little unfair. An oil company has somehow gotten ahold of the Maxwell land, and the dastardly corporation is trying to force the family out of the only home they’ve ever known. So perhaps the homicidal hillbillies are really just doing what they can to survive.
Things come to a head when, inevitably, the brothers find the campers out in the woods and decide to take matters into their own hands. But it’s not just peace and quiet that the Maxwell’s want. They’ve got their sites set just a little higher, and with the help of a few choice campers, they might just get their wish.
I had a good time with writer/director Michael Thomas Daniel’s new movie, and if you’re looking for a no-frills horror film that does things by the slasher book (is there a slasher book?), then GET GONE might just be for you.
The script, while straight forward, is well written, weaving exposition nicely into natural dialogue. I can’t tell you how many films veer off into what I like to call “as you know” dialogue, where two characters tell each other things that they both already know. It’s irritating and immediately takes me out of the film because we just don’t do that in real life. Thankfully, Daniel’s script avoids that for the most part, which is no small feat when you have to set up the mythology of a murderous family of creeps.
There’s also some fine acting to be seen, with an especially nice performance from Lin Shaye as Mama Maxwell. Her reading of the line “It is so peaceful out here, except when the strangers show up,” gave me chills. And she really landed the blow by following it up with a creepy monologue about flies that’s about so much more than insects.
It was also nice to see Weston Cage Coppola and Bailey Coppola, children of Nicholas Cage, continuing the family business. While both men have been active in the biz for a while, I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them work, and it was fun to watch them working together here. I’m sure you’re curious to know if either of them has inherited their father’s unique approach to acting, and the answer is yes and no. While you can see his influence on their performance style at times, these actors bring their own style to the film that was totally enjoyable.
If I have one quibble, it would be with just how straightforward the story was. As I’ve already said, I love a classic slasher, but this story is almost too classic. With strong notes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Hatchet, GET GONE doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it also doesn’t bring a whole lot more to the table. While I enjoyed the film’s adherence to the tropes we all love (obnoxious dude bros, virtuous authority figures, innocent final girls), nothing surprised me either. This didn’t stop me from having a good time watching, but a little bit of a twist on the genre would have been a welcome addition.
If you’re looking for hillbilly killers run amok (and really, who isn’t?), then you might just want to try GET GONE. GET GONE is now in theaters.
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