Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Levan Bakhia
Written by: Adrian Colussi
Starring: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Dean Geyer, Kote Tolordava & Giorgi Tsaava
While a lot of recent horror films hitting this year’s festival circuit haven’t quite caught my attention, LANDMINE GOES CLICK is a definite exception. LANDMINE sounded like a raw, gritty and insane flick with a lot of potential packed into a simple premise. The film (currently available on various VOD outlets) is definitely an acquired taste kind of story. If you’re a fan (not exactly the right word, but close enough) of films like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, or RED, WHITE & BLUE, then you’ll probably dig the hell out of LANDMINE GOES CLICK. This low-budget flick knocked me flat on my ass. Though it’s definitely not without its flaws (some of which reach slightly distracting levels towards the final minutes), LANDMINE GOES CLICK is a nasty beast of a film.
Chris, Alicia and Daniel are three friends hiking through European Georgia. Alicia and Daniel are wildly in love, while Chris is sulking because he has the hots for Alicia. However, through a sad twist of fate, Chris steps on an old landmine. Unable to move from the location for fear of setting off the explosive, Chris and his two friends soon find themselves in waking nightmare when a violent stranger shows up and decides to take advantage of the situation. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling details, because this movie packs in many twists and turns throughout.
For a movie that was shot on a small budget, LANDMINE GOES CLICK displays a remarkable level of talent from second-time director Levan Bakhia. The visual quality of the film is crisp and looks professional. There’s also a number of Hitchcockian long takes that build suffocating suspense. One of the most intense moments of the film is a simple conversation between three characters that quickly spirals out of control when insults spur hot-headed tempers up to dangerous levels. It certainly helps that the story is pretty damn solid for the first half of the film and then takes an unexpected turn during the second half. I could not fully guess where the movie eventually took me and it added a cool spin on what essentially might have boiled down to a simple pressure cooker spread thin for two hours.
While the first half of the film has stellar writing and I enjoyed a majority of the second half, the final 15 minutes are a tad anti-climactic. This bit sort of stretched the plausibility of how something like this might occur, but left the movie on a sick note that’s bound to make the viewer feel the need to watch a Disney cartoon in order to feel happy again. The acting is a mixed bag as Sterling Knight does a damn fine job as Chris for most of the film, but then goes a tad over-the-top during the finale. Spencer Locke is off-and-on as the sympathetic Alicia. Her character makes some stupid decisions, but they are mostly believable in her desperate efforts to save Chris. Dean Geyer is wooden as Daniel, but his cheesy line delivery doesn’t ruin most of the film thanks to better performances from actors surrounding him. Finally, Kote Tolordava is perfect as the greasy-haired psycho who comes across this chaotic situation and takes full advantage of it. I cannot praise Tolordava’s performance enough. He’s great!
I’ve had to keep things intentionally vague in my description of LANDMINE GOES CLICK. The film definitely isn’t what I pegged it out to be when I started watching. Though the acting is a mixed bag and I didn’t fully buy where things went in the second half of the film (as interesting as they were), the suspense is well-constructed and a number of creative twists it takes are intense and insane. The film nails down the make-you-feel-dirty vibe that you would hope for in a thriller with this premise. As a whole, this is a surprisingly well-executed, dark, and depressing human horror. LANDMINE GOES CLICK is a vicious little ride that should leave you wanting to take a shower afterwards. If you’re into this sort of thing, then by all means, check this flick out!