RIVER WILD is a Netflix reboot of a 1994 Meryl Streep thriller, but it features entirely different characters in a similar scenario. The original movie featured Streep playing a mom who’s family is terrorized by two criminals on a kayaking trip. The new movie follows a single female doctor named Joey whose brother, Gray, invites her on a remote kayaking trip. What Joey didn’t expect is that Gray’s friend, Trevor, who’s given her the creeps since high school, has teamed up with Gray to supervise the excursion. Trevor is fresh from a three-year prison sentence. The whole setup is a recipe for trouble.
RIVER WILD has some effective action sequences, particularly in two fight scenes. However, there’s relatively little excitement found on the water with three long boring stretches between the action scenes. Also, the characters are barely fleshed out, and a twist revelation comes completely out of nowhere. Finally, the performances are a long way from the star caliber of the original 1994 movie. RIVER WILD has intense violence and more than 20 obscenities and profanities. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
(B, LL, VV, S, A, D, M)
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Light moral worldview about a woman and other people threatened by an ex-convict that the woman and her brother knew as teenagers
21 obscenities (including two “f” words), one Christ profanity, two GD profanities, and a man gives the middle finger to another person
A woman falls offscreen and suffers a skull fracture, woman claims a man tried to assault her before she fell, woman with a head wound has seizures, villain attacks a park ranger, villain chokes and stabs park ranger, villain then shoots the ranger and puts the corpse in a truck that he causes to explode, villain puts a loaded gun in his mouth for a few seconds but doesn’t pull the trigger, villain shoots a character and kicks him hard until he dies. two men fight intensely, and one man tries to drown the other, character shot in stomach, man flips a raft full of people intentionally on some rapids to injure and kill the passengers, man stabs a woman in the back, but she survives, woman digs a knife into her own chest to create a small wound that draws blood
Woman says when she was 15, a man took advantage of her and “used her like a toy”, and another woman, who’s fatally injured, says the man, who’s recently been let out of prison, made an unwanted sexual advance to her, which led to a fall and her head injury
Some alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Some smoking but no drugs; and,
Villain lies, manipulates and terrorizes female hostages throughout the story.
A reboot of a 1994 Meryl Streep thriller, RIVER WILD features entirely different characters but a largely similar scenario. Instead of focusing on Streep as a mom and her family being terrorized by two criminals on a kayaking trip, the new movie follows a single female doctor named Joey (Leighton Meester), who embarks on a remote kayaking trip at the invite of her brother, Gray (Taran Killam).
What Joey didn’t expect is that Gray’s friend, Trevor (Adam Brody), who has given her the creeps since high school, is fresh out of a three-year prison sentence and teaming up with Gray to supervise the excursion. Joey is immediately wary of Trevor’s presence among herself and two other women, but she has no option to turn back and skip the trip.
The group drinks too much wine that night around a campfire. Another woman named Van wanders off, with Trevor following shortly after as they both claim they’re taking bathroom breaks. Moments later, however, Trevor cries out for help after Van falls down and fractures her skull on a rock.
As Joey tries to stabilize her, Van says that Trevor had made an unwanted sexual advance on her that led to the fall. With Van starting to have seizures and in danger of dying within hours, Grey and Trevor say they all have no choice but to race down the river in the darkness of night to get to a ranger station.
When Van dies by morning, Trevor goes off the rails and orders the others to create a shallow grave for Van. Gray leads him to get to the park ranger for rescue help, but Trevor goes even more crazy because he fears he’ll go back to prison, and he kills the ranger.
Trevor insists that he and Gray must float into Canada to escape prosecution. He also holds Joey and the third female rafter hostage.
Can Joey save herself and the other woman? Will Gray step in to save the day? Can Trevor be defeated?
While RIVER WILD has some effective action sequences, particularly in two fight scenes, there is relatively little excitement found on the water. For example, the movie barely shows the characters fighting dangerous rapids. The first 20 minutes are talky and boring, and there are two other long boring stretches between action scenes that will make viewers feel trapped for days watching the movie.
Also, the characters in RIVER WILD are barely fleshed out. So, it’s hard to get very emotionally invested in them and their fight for survival. Finally, a twist revelation comes completely out of nowhere and feels like lazy writing intended just to make viewers say, “Whoa.” It just doesn’t work.
The performances in RIVER WILD are okay, but they’re a long way from the star caliber of the original movie’s performances by Meryl Streep and its villain Kevin Bacon. The scenery varies between beautiful and harrowing depending on the movie’s mood, but this is one trip that’s too poorly paced to be worth taking.
RIVER WILD has some intense violence, two verbal references to unwanted assaults and plenty of foul language, including one or two “f” words and three strong profanities. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
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