Sometimes the films that depict events that can actually happen are more horrifying than the most gory of underground horror cinema. They may not be as grisly or anywhere near as explicit, but real-life events can cause real-life emotions from viewers. Thus is the case with Jamie M. Dagg’s crime thriller, River.
American doctor, John Lake (Rossif Sutherland, Hellions), is taking a much-needed holiday from his clinic in southern Laos. After an alcohol-filled night leads him to intervene in a sexual assault, things escalate quickly, causing John to defend himself, killing a stranger in the process. Knowing the consequences he now faces, John must find his way to the US embassy if he has any hope of getting out of this mess.
After reading the above synopsis, I may lose some of you guys. I know, I know. We’re called Repulsive Reviews. It doesn’t matter really. Roger and I enjoy things other than horror from time to time and this happens to be one of them. Don’t be turned off, however, just because my write-up isn’t going to be soaked in blood and covered in viscera.
River is a film that depicts a very real situation, which happens to take place on foreign soil. Although main character, John Lake, has been working in Laos for some time, he is still out of his comfort zone and in a strange land. That aspect of this story is terrifying enough in its own right; Throw into the mix the fact that John is now on the run because of one split second decision he made to try to do the right thing, helping an innocent woman, and you have for a real nerve-racking film escapade.
The role of John is played by Rossif Sutherland, son of Donald, younger brother of Kiefer, who happens to do a remarkable job. Playing a rather average-Joe character, Sutherland was still capable of playing with my emotions, making me root for him the entire time, even though I knew he was guilty of killing a man. The circumstances, however, will have you on his side, hoping he is able to escape and get out of harm’s reach.
Reminiscent of what I experienced during my viewing of No Escape, River is a tense 86 minutes that kept me on edge for its entirety. The first film ever filmed in Laos, it is well put together, superbly written [by director Jamie M. Dagg], and features a fantastic performance by Rossif Sutherland and the rest of the supporting cast. It isn’t horror per se, but I still urge you to check it out when in the mood for something a little lighter, but still entertaining.
River is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment, so be sure to pick up a copy.
I give this one 3 drunken Australians out of 5.