Locked In actually isn’t a bad movie and despite some shortcomings with the screenplay/story, the acting from the main cast are pretty good and there’s enough there to keep one’s attention. Still, at best this is only worth a rental unless you can nab this for under $5.
Genre(s): Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 78 min. – $26.98 | October 14, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Note: This review contains spoilers. Readers beware.
Filmed all the way back in 2009 – and premiering at the Boston Film Festival in ’10 – Locked In sat in cinema purgatory reportedly due to a dispute between producers and distributors with some kind of impasse leading a few fans wondering if it would ever see the light of day. Flash forward five years and through Lionsgate, it gets a frill-less straight-to-video release.
Locked In focuses on Josh (BEN BARNES) and Emma (SARAH ROEMER), a separated couple with daughter Brooke (ABBY and HELEN STEINMAN). The pair are on their way home for Christmas, clichéd tree on top of car, when Josh loses control and the car topples end over end. The result finds Brooke in a pseudo coma which doctors call the locked-in syndrome where the patient’s brain activities are intact and semi-aware but cannot speak or move; there is no cure and eventually patients lose a grip on reality and die.
The movie takes us in and out of the present particularly showcasing the dissolution of the marriage thanks to a transgression between Josh and the sultry seductress Renee (ELIZA DUSHKU), an old flame who get together, aka hot steamy sex, while Josh is supposed to be out buying more candy for trick-or-treaters, not to mention stopping off at an old swanky hangout for a nightcap where we get some background that Josh used to be a top dog executive, turning down a promotion to stay home with the family. Oh the irony.
Meanwhile, in the present, despite a grim prognosis, Josh is not ready to let go of his little girl and employs the help of a, I guess, spiritualist (CLARKE PETERS) to help Emma come out of this coma utilizing familiar sights and sounds (even though she can’t hear anything). At the same time, we are introduced to Josh’s brother Nathan (JOHNNY WHITWORTH) who helps his big brother out of jams while Josh’s mother-in-law (BRENDA FRICKER) arrives to give a basis of reality on the situation at hand… On top of all of this, Josh believes there is more to the crash and it may not be a simple accident.
Alright, so distribution nightmares aside, Locked In actually isn’t a half-bad little flick. The story itself has some compelling moments and the performances from Ben Barnes and Sarah Roemer, and even Eliza Dushku playing a sexpot, are decent enough however the pacing felt off, in spite of an incredibly short 77-minute running time, and without getting into too much detail, though spoiler warning, I predicted a story element with a good 40-minutes to go leaving one only waiting for “it” to happen and then compounded with a series of images and flashbacks as if the audience didn’t get it or at the very least, felt so proud at what they accomplished.
Directed by Suri Krishamma off of a screenplay from Ronnie Christensen who previously wrote the 2008 Anne Hathaway drama Passengers and 2012’s Dark Tide starring Halle Berry, Locked In has plenty going for it from half-decent production values, good performances from the lead and a story that at least manages to keep one’s attention… but only to a certain point. While the script could’ve used a rewrite (or two), I don’t have much of a problem recommending this… as a rental.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
Outside of a Digital Copy redemption code, no features are included.
VIDEO – 3.5/5 | AUDIO – 4.5/5
The video is presented with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85 aspect ratio) and looks on par with any other standard def release. Colors are deliberately muted and there is some banding issues but it’s a mostly clean looking transfer.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is amazingly intense from the opening title sequence which will test your bass and shake any windows, as well as the floor, in your theater room. Dialogue levels do sound clear enough and the music/score comes through the front and rear channels.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, Locked In actually isn’t a bad movie and despite some shortcomings with the screenplay/story, the acting from the main cast are pretty good and there’s enough there to keep one’s attention. Still, at best this is only worth a rental unless you can nab this for under $5. The DVD is pretty basic with no bonus material, average video although the audio has a bit of an oomph behind it.