October 29, 2013

Solo (2013)

"A teenage girl is terrorized when she spends two nights alone on a remote island as part of her camp counselor [sic] initiation."

My second movie today is this extremely generic Canadian "Friday the 13th"-esque clone.

Don't watch the trailer because it gives away all the good bits!

"Solo" is typically Canadian with better acting than it deserves, more clich├ęs and borrowings mixed together with a big paddle of predictability, and no chance at ever getting a higher rating than "just average". The main character's backstory provides some originality, but as it's lost in favour of a traditional "kidnap, escape, and chase through the woods" third act, it's hardly worth mentioning.

Nothing much happens horror-wise until the end, and the gory money shot is far too short, but everything looks okay. Decent production values, competent camerawork (albeit sometimes shaky), and solid acting tend to cover a multitude of sins in the pacing, lack of atmosphere, and script.

Annie Clark is satisfactory as the lead, and the bad guy gives a damned good try at being nutty as a fruitcake, but neither performance is outstanding or very memorable. As usual, I have no idea if anyone involved in this production is famous in other respects such as TV, and I can't be bothered to look them up.

One thing I picked up on is that all the male characters smoke and don't seem to be able to get through a scene without lighting up. It's not important to the story in any way, just a theme which runs throughout. Maybe there's an in-joke there which someone can explain to me later. As a smoker myself, it amused me that I was puffing away along with them.

Unfortunately, "Solo" isn't very scary. I had hopes that more would be made of the ghost story about the island being haunted, but alas, it was not to be. It's a mystery thriller with some horror elements, and only a minor upgrade from Syfy Originals and other "filler" genre movies.

I have a feeling that "Solo" is pretty much a directorial debut. Sometimes I tend to be more lenient with new talent, and there's enough talent involved in this movie to make it watchable. If you want something more exciting, however, I recommend one of the earlier "Friday the 13th" movies or "Sleepaway Camp" instead.

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