07 August 2009

A Perfect Getaway

Written & Directed by: David Twohy
Full credits from IMDb

Had A Perfect Getaway, a romping, cheeky, self-conscious and crowd-pleasing horror-mystery, been released in the 80s, we might herald it as a lost masterpiece. But coming out now, as it does, the movie feels derivative — even if, otherwise, it's a gas. American horror got self-referential in the 90s, after Wes Craven went nuts with his New Nightmare and Scream, films that adopted Tarantino's then de rigueur genre fluency; they played with the conventional horror structures by openly calling them out, placing a po-mo focus on the text. Some more recent horror movies have moved on to investigate the horror movie's formal aspects: each in their own way, to varying degrees of success, Vacancy, Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead and Quarantine have handled the relationship between the camera and the viewer, between screen and spectator.

A Perfect Getaway starts down that road — its main character captures everything on a camcorder — but soon abandons it. Rumor has it that the 90s, as they drift further and further into history, are coming back in a big way; this movie, then, is the first throwback to that Kevin Williamson era of winking genre pieces too smart for their own structural strictures — though this one abandons the slasher playbook for a more classical whodunit model.

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