“Janet (Erin McGrane) and her children are on the way to the airport to pick up their father (Aaron Laue) when they are forced to take shelter from a tornado that is ravaging the area. They manage to find a storm shelter outside of a seemingly abandoned house, only for the group to become trapped by a fallen tree that prevents them from leaving the storm shelter. Things are made worse when they discover that they’re not alone in the house or storm shelter and the group is attacked by a monstrous creature.” – Wikipedia
I watched Nailbiter last week. I got busy with other things shortly after watching it and wasn’t able to write a review on it until now. Well, that’s not completely true. I could have written review before now but to be honest, I had completely forgotten the name of the movie or even what in the hell it was about it. This meant that I would have to take the time go through my DVD’s or online accounts like Netflix and so on in the hopes that I could recall the movie and I just didn’t have the time to waste doing that, until now.
Well, I found the movie and started to watch it again. I decided to let it play in the background as I write this review. My thinking was that it would help remind me what it was about it. In a way, it did. The very beginning reminded of everything about this movie.
So let’s start with the beginning of this horror movie. After the logos of every production company that touched this film play out it fades to black and we are hit with that annoying Emergency Broadcast tone. No picture, just a black screen and that sound. It goes on for several seconds. It was long enough that I started to wonder if somehow my TV paused the movie just so that I could hear this emergency broadcast. I literally, hit pause on the movie to double check that it was the movie and not some weird shit going on with my relatively new Vizio TV. For a split second my thoughts weren’t of the movie, it was more like, “Do they have to play this test 5 times a day now?” But, nope, it was in fact the movie. Not a good way for a film to start. The movie had just started and I was taken out of it story. The film does have some decent acting and directing. But, once again, we have a film with characters that do stupid things and few things piss me off like characters doing stupid things.
An example of stupidity, one of our films protagonists is a mom traveling with her three daughters. They are going to see their military husband and father who’s just coming back from deployment. They stop in some small town for gas. Mom already knows that bad weather is coming. A deputy warns them that maybe they should find a good place to sit out the storm. Mom of course ignores the warning and I am already thinking, she’s an idiot. Ten minutes or so into the film and I already think the sympathetic mom is an idiot.
I don’t think that I am being too harsh here. Think about it, when the Emergency Broadcast is telling you that shit is probably going to hit the fan, it’s a good idea to go ahead and listen to it. When law enforcements warns you of impending danger, you should really listen to it. But, this mom just has to make it to the airport to see hubby arrive even though she has got to be aware that hubby’s flight might be late or even cancelled but, nope she’s going to keep going. This not only puts herself at risk but more importantly, her children.
Okay, I accept it, she misses him, figures what they heck it’s only a tornado. She’s an idiot, but as I have said before if people didn’t do stupid things in horror movies, we wouldn’t have horror movies. However, she continues to be stupid again.
Yet another example, while driving she notices the tornado behind her. So instead of going faster while using her side and rearview mirrors she literally continues to drive while looking back over her shoulder. I am not talking about the occasional look back. You know how you turn in your seat when you back out of parking space? She driving like that but going forward. Can’t a see a thing ahead of her. She doesn’t have a single problem driving like that but the moment she looks forward she can’t drive in straight line to save her life. Naturally mom crashes the car into the ditch. It’s just one bad decision after another. Less than 15 minutes into the film now and this mother is a walking disaster of stupidity.
The stupid continues… After the crash they have found a vacant cellar and seek shelter in it. The tornado may have caused a branch to block the cellar entrance. maybe it was something more sinister that used the branch to block their escape. They realize they are in fact trapped and start try to get the owners attention. The owner is home, they know this and panic starts to kick in.
An attempt is made to escape through one of the cellar windows. However, the daughter attempting the escape is halfway out of the window when attacked by something and retreats back into the cellar. Now we all know there’s a monster outside, at the very least a vicious dog outside. The characters know something bad is out there and no thought to maybe closing the open window with something? No thought to looking around the basement for something that could be used as a weapon? Nope. After attending to said daughters wounds, everyone just kinda sits around. The only one doing anything productive is the eldest daughter who keeps trying to send texts to her father in the hopes that he will show up and save them. It’s at this point I started to root for the monsters. The window the daughter tried to escape from, still wide open.
I will say that for a low budget horror movie, the quality is really good. It has a lot going for it. It tries to have some surprises at the end. It’s not too heavy on the CGI and I like that. If you can get past mom being kind of an idiot, it’s not too bad. As mentioned I thought the acting was pretty good. Erin McGrane as the mom, Janet Maguire, was a strong performance. The actresses playing her children were good, I really enjoyed Meg Saricks as Jennifer. She played the oldest daughter and the strongest character I thought. I enjoyed her performance so much I plan to look up other things she’s done and take a look.
Nailbiter is Directed by Patrick Rea and is written by Patrick Rea, Kendal Sinn. The writing I think could have used some work. However, if the rumor is true that a sequel is planned, I look forward to seeing it. Unfortunately, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this film. I would like to have seen more gore, less stupid character judgment and better suspense. Even though I would call this a bad horror movie I am on the bubble here. It’s entertaining, it’s not really, scary, there’s not really a lot of suspense or gore but the desire to know what they hell is going on with the crazy owners is enough to keep you watching.
I would also like to be fair and say that I have read quite a few reviews of this movie and I seem to be in the minority here. Seems that a lot of people liked it much more than I did. I can only go by what I thought while watching it.
As I mentioned I have the movie playing as I write this. I have looked over a few times at the TV and I am still not seeing anything that makes this movie more memorable aside from the acting and production quality. I want to like it more, I really do, I just can’t.
Cast of Characters:
Emily Boresow as Alice Maguire
Meg Saricks as Jennifer Maguire
Erin McGrane as Janet Maguire
Joicie Appell as Mrs. Shurman
Michelle Davidson as Dina
Ian Dempsey as Sean
Ben Jeffrey as Deputy Carr
Aaron Laue as Lt. Maguire
Allen Lowman as Tom
Zane Martin as Little monster
Mark Ridgway as Sheriff
John D. Barnes as Townsperson
Jason Coffman as Creature
Tom Conroy as Bartender
Anita Cordell as Traveler at airport