Barricade (2012) Directed by Andrew Currie. Starring: Jody Thompson, Eric McCormack and Conner Dwelly. IMDB says: “A father’s quiet retreat to the woods with his two children turns into a fight for survival.”
The ever-changing WWE Studios, a production company formally most know in the action/horror genre, has recently decided to spread it’s tentacles into other types of film. The latest film from the studio is Barricade, still a horror film but certainly geared to the psychological thriller sub genre. The movie features Eric McCormick as the central character Terrence, a recent widower looking to bring himself closer to his two children by retreating to his wife’s family cabin in the winter woods. While attempting to keep the children’s mood elevated and maintain a sense of togetherness, Terrence not only struggles with living up to the standards set but his adored wife but also the increasingly unsettling events surrounded their stay at the cabin.
The set up is basic but it’s a story I always find appealing and can work well with appropriate performances at the forefront. Thankfully Barricade pulls that off and it remains the movie’s biggest asset. McCormack is best know for his comedic performances (the immensely popular TV show Will and Grace) but here he is dealing with subject matter that is anything but. He is easily the best performer on screen, which is good because he has to be. The veracity of the story and situations presented in the film rests pretty squarely on his shoulders for most of the running time.
Another thing that the movie really has going for it is the setting. The snowy cabin set design and filming location provide a fantastic mixture for a thriller. The film’s ambitious plot attempts to blur the lines of paranoia and actual danger, which fit right at home in the snowy environment. There is a universal sense of dread that can be applied to a troubling scenario of man vs. the elements. Even if you can’t relate to the central characters loss you can relate to the fear of being matched against nature.
With the right basic elements set into place, the film still manages to miss the mark on some other components. The children and flashback scenes of the wife are competently acted but dragged down by melodramatic moments and a lack of genuine chemistry. The scenes weren’t totally ineffective but had untapped potential to greatly impact the audience. There were also added elements of typical horror “jump scares” that were completely unnecessary. Not only were they not frightening but the only purpose they seemed to serve was to disconnect you from the more interesting paranoia story line. I will say that those moments didn’t happen often enough to turn me off completely but the movie does loose points with it’s conclusion. The ‘twist’ or however you may describe it, isn’t really meant to jar the viewers but it does seem to amount to less than expected. The film conveys weak character motivations in the final act that doesnt resonate well with the viewer. It’s not implausible but it doesn’t pack much of a punch. At the end there is an appropriately unsettling feeling that vanishes once the movie tries to force a typical, tacked on ending/post resolution creep out.
All in all, this is a decent thriller with some reasons to watch. It would make for a nice viewing around winter time if you’re craving that feeling of snowy isolation horror. Also, it has me interested in what WWE will produce in the future. According to a press release, the films they currently have in development seem promising as well:
Dead Man Down, which was co-financed with IM Global and will be distributed by FilmDistrict, starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace; The Hive, which was co-produced with Troika Pictures, starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin; and No One Lives, which was co-produced with Pathé Films and premiered at Midnight Madness at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay
Barricade is out on DVD September 25th and is available exclusively at Wal Mart.