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Featured DVD Review: Locked In

October 13th, 2014

Locked In - Buy from Amazon: DVD

Locked In was shot in 2009 and made its debut in 2010 at the Boston Film Festival. It is only getting a regular release now, and it is being dumped direct-to-DVD. That's a really bad sign. Is it a good movie that fell between the cracks? Or is there a good reason it failed to find a distributor for so long?

The Movie

The film begins with a family driving home with a Christmas tree on top of their car. Josh and Emma are in the front, while their daughter, Brooke, is in the back. They are listening to Christmas carols and everything seems happy, then there's a crash. ... I don't know how. It looked like Josh slammed on the gas and lost control, but it also didn't look like he did it intentionally. Regardless of what was supposed to have happened, it was poorly shot and rather confusing. ... I could end the review there and it would be accurate. "Poorly shot and rather confusing." sums it up rather nicely.

As a result of the accident, Josh and Emma look perfectly fine, but Brooke is left in a coma. To be more specific, she is locked in, she is conscious, but she can't respond to outside stimuli. When Josh and Emma return home, they have an uncomfortable conversation before Emma tells Josh to leave and go back to his motel. The next day, Josh is asked by Frank about the car crash. Frank is amazed anyone walked away from that, but when he presses for details, Josh has trouble remembering.

We then flashback to Halloween. Emma is upset at Josh, because Josh is on the phone with work and not helping out with Brooke or with handing out candy. When they run out of Candy, Josh heads out to get more candy. While returning home with a small bag of candy, he stops by a club and meets Renee, and after several flashbacks, we learn they had an affair. (Although that's pretty obvious right away.)

Meanwhile, back in the present, Josh learns than Emma thinks it is best to let Brooke go. The medical prognosis is dire, as there is no cure, or even a known best treatment. However, Josh is determined not to let go of Brooke. This stress might explain why, after drinking, he thinks he gets a call from Brooke. Did she really try to contact him? Or is the stress really getting to him?

Locked In is described as a thriller, but it is not thrilling. It is rather dull. The script is just really bad and that impacts every aspect of the film. I never got the sense that Josh and Emma were a couple trying to salvage their relationship. There was no chemistry there, but they also weren't given a lot to work with, so I can't entirely blame the actors. The script tries to make the film thrilling by jumping back and forth between timelines. This is a method that can work, but the difficulty is really high and the filmmakers can't pull it off. Instead, the film just becomes a confusing jumble of scenes. There is a surprise twist at the end that helps explain all of the confusing aspects of the movie, but it just feels like a cop-out rather than a natural result of the plot. I can't explain what the twist is without giving away the final ending, but I can say it was telegraphed and most viewers will guess the ending about halfway through. This is partly because the writing is too obvious, but mostly because it is a twist we've seen too many times in the past. In fact, Eliza Dushku was in another movie that used the same twist.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

Locked In takes what could be a good, if overused setup and squanders it on bad execution. Additionally, there are no extras on the DVD, so the value is even lower.

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Filed under: Video Review, Locked In, Ben Barnes, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Roemer, Clarke Peters