Get Gone is a film I don’t think was on many people’s radar when it was released across on-demand and home video platforms on July 31st, 2019, and a person can’t very well be faulted for that. Thankfully, that is what Up to Snuff Sundaysis all about, shining a light on not only popular horror, but genre fare that may have otherwise been overlooked. The film was written and directed by Michael Thomas Daniel and brings a formidable cast of actors and actresses including Robert Miano and genre favorite Lin Shaye (her horror contributions can be traced all the way back to the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, but most moviegoers likely know her as the actress from Insidious).
The film follows a “fake video” team aptly named the Hoax Busters partaking in a weekend retreat, meant as a team building exercise for the group. They venture out to Whiskey Flats, Oregon and are met by a guy named Craig Eubanks, their outdoor guide who ensures his expertise will strengthen their confidence in one another as a collective unit. As all of this happens, a drilling company has procured the legal rights to land by the Federal Government and is actively trying to invade the property of a family that has lived there illegally for over three decades. As you can expect, our Hoax Busters are caught in the middle of it all, and when the drillers become more and more aggressive, the family reacts, donning masks and going full slasher on anything in-sight.
As you can expect, this isn’t a film about reinventing the wheel of the slasher genre nor is it a film that succeeds in spite of itself. For the horror enthusiasts and undemanding casual viewers, I don’t believe this is a death sentence either. A slasher film doesn’t have to set the world on fire in-order to entertain its audience. Whether sought after as a vicarious thrill or in its disturbed audacity, a lot of horror films succeed by following the same simple formula. The best of them, of course, do something in-order to separate themselves from the pack, whether it is by creative and inspired visuals or taut, suspenseful cinematography with emphasis from a distinct sound.
Get Gone derives its name from a warning said by one of the family members in the film. As clunky as it felt in the dialogue, it felt even clunkier when it was repeated by the character later on in the film. Perhaps this was the film’s way of naming itself after Jordan Peele‘s acclaimed horror film “Get Out” without being so straightforward or obvious. Whichever the reason, Get Gone borrows more than its fair share of elements from the slasher genre. The oddball family murdering anyone that comes on their middle-of-nowhere turf has been made famous by horrors like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes, and although I enjoyed the chance to have Lin Shaye offered a walk on the dark side, there isn’t anything truly distinguishable or memorable about her performance or anyone else’s seen in this film.
Something I have learned to appreciate a lot over the years of reviewing smaller-budget horror films is the camera-work and sound-mixing, I find it is something you miss very much when it is absent. This film has solid production-value, with appropriate lighting and a steady hand behind the camera. Unfortunately, like what I said about the story-line and the characters, it doesn’t accomplish anything beyond that.
A strong sound presence is the bread-and-butter of the horror genre, whether it’s the distinct sound of A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween, it fills dead-air with newfound depth, accomplishing suspense that compliments and enhances what’s happening on the screen. I couldn’t single-out any distinct sound in this film. It follows the basics of an eerie sound amid conflict, but it is a very stock sounding contribution at best. The camera-work does well, in that, it follows along with everything that happens on the screen. This isn’t always a given, to be fair, however, and that makes it a commendable trait. It merely doesn’t do a lot else besides that, in-terms of cinematography, it operates decent on a technical front, but is plain and without anything worthy of note.
This is a film with an awful score on IMDb and a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, and even if I can think of certain movies I have seen with higher scores I thought were inferior, I can understand why many people haven’t taken to it. The film is very safe and, at times, feels like it could have been created on a conveyor belt, with no distinct human-quality or originality brought into it. Sometimes films fail because they try too hard to go against the grain and they cannibalize themselves, – this, on the other-hand, shows a film intent on playing it safe, afraid to take any new risks. Personally, I would have preferred the former.