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Rest Stop (2006)

'Rest Stop' is a simple enough film with a simple enough premise and considering the short run time, this basic plot is more than justified and welcomed. Sometimes Slashers can try and be too clever with their premise, often resulting is some form of plot twist that can end up contradicting its overall narrative. Personally I find that the more basic and unintentional a Slasher film is, the more realistic I find it to be, ultimately resulting in a more terrifying watch. That's not to say that this doesn't provide any interesting developments along the way, it just manages them well enough that its entire story doesn't hinge upon them. We follow protagonist Nicole, played by actress Jaimie Alexander as she finds herself in a secluded location in desperate search for her kidnapped partner Jess, played by Joey Mendicino. Alexander is a very talented actress who I have seen in many productions over the years, including a reoccurring role in the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe'. Even considering that this is likely some of her earlier work, it's not difficult to see why she would go on to have a successful career in Hollywood. With her character being the sole focus of the majority of this films run time, I found her performance to be genuine and authentic and more importantly, engaging throughout. Director John Shiban, who's more notable work includes writing and producing credits on shows like 'The X Files', 'Smallville', 'The Vampire Diaries' and even 'Breaking Bad'. His back catalogue is something that makes perfect scenes when watching this film, the cinematography and overall production quality feels very much at home with with the likes of most of the mention American procedural Tv shows. Having that style of Tv show aesthetics here, only made me question whether or not this was originally intended to be and episode of 'The X Files' and whether or not it would have been better suited to that style of programming. There are some rather unexplained and open-ended plot points that never come to fruition in this film, having somewhat Sci-fi elements incorporated throughout surrounding this Rest Stop that are only really noticeable if paying close attention (again making me question the original intention for this script). I found it incredibly frustrating that answer were never provided for these moments, and if you have seen the film I'm sure you are aware of the scenes and moments of dialogue that I'm referring too. I know there is a sequel to this film and I'm hoping that will develop this ideas further, as well as bring back a few key characters that never get any form of exposition or development. One thing that really stood out to me as rather underwhelming was the score, this too felt very much like a made for Tv score you would likely find on a smaller scale Tv show. I was amazed to discover that this was actually composed by Bear McCreary of 'The Walking Dead' fame, I've come across plenty of his work over the years and more times than not he does some pretty impressive stuff. Unfortunately, this is not one of those times. It felt very out of place and dated for a film that came out in 2006. Overall, 'Rest Stop' was an entertaining 1h 25m, but under closer inspection there are too many unanswered elements for me to be left completely satisfied. For a Slasher, the kills count is very low, however, to its credit this feels more like a character study of the victims helpless situation as she is relentlessly tormented by her attacker. Even baring the negatives I found along the way with this film, its still a solid recommendation and I will certainly be seeking out the sequel at some point in the future.



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