Recovery online movie review - A serviceable entry in suburban horror
NOTE: I was given a screener copy of this film for the Dark Discussions Podcast.
Reverse home invasion films seem to be a thing this year. Films like Intruders and Don't Breathe tell tales of people breaking into the homes only to find something horrible waiting for them. I am sure there is something significant in that.
Unlike those other films, in which our protagonists are criminals trapped by bigger threats, Jess (Kirby Bliss Blanton), Logan (James Landry Hebert) and Miles (Alex Shaffer) are relative innocents drawn into a spider's web spun by the suburban equivalent of TCM's sawyer family.
How effective you find the film will likely depend on how much empathy you have for the teenage characters (Jess is about to graduate High School), who mostly act like teenage characters; in search of a good time, they lie to their parents, experiment with drugs, cheat on each other, and spend too much time on their phones. It is telling that the characters spend much of the film looking for Jess's phone, with little concern over the fate of their new friend Kim, who vanished along with it. Still, in a genre that is still grappling with how to deal with new technology in old tropes, using the phone as bait to draw in victims is inspired.
The film is a slow burn - though only 82 minutes long, more than half of that is spent leading up to the confrontation between Jess's friends and their would-be abductors. Once they arrive at the death trap that is the antagonist's home, there is still much Scooby Doo style investigation that takes place before Daddy gets home. Much of the action in the house is confusing, and I never got a handle on it's layout, but I suspect that was the director's intent.
Once the action does take place, I found the violence to be more authentic than stylish, with a few moments of good practical gore, and I rather liked the Phantom of the Opera tension between Jess and Edward.