It is easy to review films starring talented actors and shot by directors with vision and aplomb. Films by Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee and Quentin Tarentino are bound to be focused, intelligent and varied. Reviewing a film in which Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis or Kate Winslet is undoubtedly going to involve a strong performance no matter the quality of the script. All these talented actors and directors have the ability to raise the level of the film they are working on. Those are times when your job as a critic is easy. I am beginning to believe that what makes a truly good critic is not what they write about a film like Gladiator or Mulholland Drive rather about films like this one directed by Adam Neutzky-Wulff and starring William Baldwin and Estella Warren. It’s hard to make filet mignon out of minced meat.
Emily Moore (Estella Warren – Driven, The Cooler) is a well-known actress. One evening after her latest play Emily is abducted, raped and tortured. After she is rescued she is a psychologically scarred woman. Emily jumps at every noise and believes she is being followed. She and her psychiatrist husband, Robert (William Baldwin – Flatliners, Backdraft), decide to go on a vacation on a secluded island off of Spain.
On their first night in the villa a young girl named Sarah (Sarah Butler – I Spit on Your Grave) arrives at the house covered in blood. She is hysterical and explains that it is due to the death of her boyfriend on a hiking accident. Robert offers Sarah shelter and treatment; he takes her on as a patient. Emily becomes suspicious of Sarah’s behaviour and story. Especially after she thinks she is flirting with Robert. Sarah has become a threat, but what kind.
The Stranger Within is set up to be a thriller. It is anything but. It tries to be clever with a couple of twists. A twist is supposed to be something that surprises and intrigues the viewer. In this film they are predictable and boring. Slow and boring. Even the gratuitous nudity and sex scenes are dull. Bad acting and a bad script. No redeeming qualities to this straight to video schlock.
-Previews of Blu-ray Disc, Bless Me, Ultima, Breakout, Cold Comes the Night, Bad Country, The Kings of Summer