Escapee is a half-baked and all around cheap shlocker with no scares, stilted dialogue, a terribly boring plot and amateurish direction. Dominic Purcell headlines but it’s obvious this was a favor for somebody in the production.
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Anchor Bay | R – 96 min. – $24.99 | April 16, 2013
Directed by: Campion Murphy
Writer(s): Campion Murphy (written by)
Cast: Dominic Purcell, Christine Evangelista, Melissa Ordway, Danny Nucci, Faith Ford
Features: Featurette, Gallery, Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Disc Size: 19.4 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 1.0/5
Escapee opens with serial killer Harmon Jaxon (or Porter according to the back cover) (DOMINIC PURCELL) has taken his latest victim, stringing her up in a tree. But the authorities are on his trail, he runs through a forest with blue-backlighting before eventually getting captured. Fast forward five years and we meet our hero for the film – although she spends a good portion “studying” and being scared – named Abby Jones (CHRISTINE EVANGELISTA) majoring in psychology and is attending a tour with a group of classmates at the local mental hospital. After a painfully executed exposition for Abby, in which her father was interred at the facility before committing suicide, the tour stops before it even begins as they go into “code orange” as a prisoner is being transferred. Who might this chap be? Of course, it’s Mr. Jaxon/Porter and the students are told to stand by the wall, face-forward and not to make eye contact. Well, you can already guess what happens as Abby does in fact make eye contact and Jaxon/Porter lunges and tackles her. Now the connection is made between the two.
At home, Abby and best friend Renee (MELISSA ORDWAY) are cramming for a test but night won’t be so quiet. Jaxon/Porter has managed an easy escape from the institution using the old faking illness routine and after a slight body count, he’s off and running. He first encounters Abby and Renee’s other friend, Lynne (CARLY CHAIKIN) spending some alone time with boyfriend Kyle (JUSTIN GASTON), but the two love birds won’t get far as Jaxon/Parker dispenses of them rather quickly, though Lynne does run through that same blue-backlit forest we saw at the beginning.
Meanwhile, a manhunt commences headed up by Detectives Jensen (FAITH FORD) and Pars (KADEEM HARDISON) while Officer Carter Thomas (SCOTT MICHAEL ELROD) performs some routine checks, particularly in Abby’s neighborhood.
At this point, and after some back and forth phone conversations, power outages due to a storm and more interactions between the investigation side (such as it is) and with Thomas keeping an eye on Abby and Lynne with the serial killer on the loose, there’s not a whole lot that really happens. In fact, we don’t even get to the big confrontation promised at the beginning until there’s maybe 8-minutes left, although even then it leaves one to wonder how Jaxon/Parker was even able to find where Abby lives. Point being, this is a boring movie which offers no thrills and a lame “twist” which isn’t all that effective anyway.
The acting here isn’t very good with the vet of the cast, and the headline star, Dominic Purcell delivering the standard “Criminal Minds”-like villain performance which isn’t very scary. Christine Evanglista isn’t too bad playing the screaming young woman which is a thankless part which, based on the ending, was probably supposed to lead to at least one sequel (a la Scream or Halloween) if this opening entry wasn’t so crappy. The rest are basically just there. They’re not memorable other than maybe Faith Ford only because it was such an odd part for her to be playing, plus she also served as a producer meaning this was a passion project for her.
Written and directed by Campion Murphy, Escapee offers nothing new to the genre and in fact manages to dumb it down even further with a boring plotline, stupid-ass characters, terrible dialogue and a villain that really isn’t that scary. And while I won’t hold it against the production, the Blu-ray cover is ridiculously laughable and a contender for worst artwork of 2013 so far!
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
The Blu-ray includes a half-decent Making Of Featurette (14:37) providing some behind-the-scenes footage and cast/crew interviews talking about the background for the story, a Photo Gallery and the trailer (2:04).
VIDEO – 2.5/5
Anchor Bay decided to unleash this monstrosity, which had been mostly contained in Europe, onto Blu-ray presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. While the picture itself has, at times, OK detail levels, on the whole it’s fairly soft. The video, probably shot on the cheap digitally, makes gives most things, and people, a waxy look. This transfer basically looks like something I’d see on cable…
AUDIO – 3.25/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track doesn’t have the wow factor or anything but it is effective enough during certain scenes especially when the score or music picks up allowing the surround tracks to come alive. The rear channels also get some use for ambient noises (crows… crowing, rain, thunder, etc.) while the center channel is reserved for dialogue, although thanks to low rent recording equipment (I’m guessing), it’s all rather flat and sounds muffled.
OVERALL – 1.0/5
Overall, Escapee is a half-baked and all around cheap shlocker with no scares, stilted dialogue, a terribly boring plot and amateurish direction. Dominic Purcell headlines but it’s obvious this was a favor for somebody in the production. The Blu-ray isn’t much better with only adequate lossless audio while the video transfer is at best subpar and the features are minimal, although not sure if a commentary was even necessary anyway.