Fast and twisty, “A Perfect Getaway” is an economical little thriller that pretty much accomplishes everything it sets out to do.
Granted, it’s not like the movie sets the bar extremely high, but, hey, there’s something to be said for aiming for the middle.
The film focuses on screenwriter Cliff (Steve Zahn, who can liven up any script) and his bride, Cydney (Milla Jovovich, who can’t). The two are honeymooning in Hawaii when news breaks that a man and woman have just killed another newlywed couple.
Suspects abound. There is a pair of sleazebags (Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth) our heroes meet while hitchhiking. Then comes stoned Gina (Kiele Sanchez) and her boyfriend, a dim-bulb named Nick (Timothy Olyphant). He has a way with a knife and a Nicolas Cage fixation.
Writer and director David Twohy puts the characters together in a gorgeous, isolated area of Kauai. Then he slowly tightens the film’s grip on viewers before all hell breaks lose. Things get really wild, with some startling violence and a nifty third-act twist that is completely out of blue, yet thoroughly satisfactory.
Twohy – he also created the excellent 2002 spooker “Below” – keeps viewers guessing throughout. He also fills the flick with some self-aware dialogue about suspense films; in one sequence, Nick and Cliff argue about whether the proper term is “red herring” or “red snapper.”
It is a witty bit, and offers a bit of foreshadowing: Red herrings abound here, and it is all part of the fun.