Downrange (2017)

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Writer: Ryûhei Kitamura, Joey O’Bryan
Cast: Kelly Connaire, Stephanie Pearson, Rod Hernandez, Anthony Kirlew, Alexa Yeames, Jason Tobias
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2018

Todd (Rod Hernandez) and Sara (Alexa Yeames) are carpooling with Jodi (Kelly Connaire), Keren (Stephanie Pearson), Jeff (Jason Tobias) and Eric (Anthony Kirlew). They barely know each other, but they are headed in the same direction and gas is expensive. Their trip comes to an abrupt stop when they blow a tire in the middle of nowhere. But that turns out to be the least of their problems: as they start changing the tire, somebody starts shooting at them – and there’s nowhere to hide.

Downrange was the best film of that particular festival evening. It’s not great, but it’s solid and doesn’t have a single boring second.

Often slasher movies have the problem that the characters in them behave rather irrationally and make choices that seem crafted to help the film instead of making sense for the characters as people. So, they won’t, for example, turn on the lights when they hear a noise in the dark, so that the film can rack up the tension. In the case of Downrange, the characters make by and large good choices in the sense that you can easily see why they would make decisions they make, even if the outcome is not good. It’s a good quality for the film in general and it makes rooting for the characters much easier, when you don’t have to constantly roll your eyes at them. Though it wasn’t just their choices that made me root for them – they were a pretty likeable bunch.

A couple of conclusions they draw about everything were a bit fast and weren’t quite as clear or unambigious as the film wants you to believe, but that didn’t bother me much. The ending went a little overboard, but since everything was fine up to that point, I can live with that.

The film has generally good effects and looks pretty good, especially considering that it probably didn’t have a huge budget. And it does handle pacing, tension and the very limited location so well that, as I said, there wasn’t a single boring second to it or a second where I wished it would move faster.

It may not become a favorite of mine, but it is a satisfying film that I enjoyed watching and would watch again if the opportunity presented itself.

Summarizing: Nice.

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