Turns out an Academy Award doesn't guarantee an actor work. Kim Basinger, whose films since L.A. Confidential have been sporadic, is here to tell you. Yes, she's been in 11 films since 1997, but not without a few of the intervening years totally dry.
This is only to suggest a reason why she may have been willing to lend her good rep and lots of physical effort to material as stumbling and unsatisfying as this. As Della, a suburban housewife with a brute for a husband (Craig Sheffer), she does something stupidly regrettable to bring her to the attention of four gangbangers who spontaneously shoot and kill a mall rent-a-cop and send her running for her life through the woods, leading the band of lowlifes on a merry chase. Article continues below
After dodging them for a while, and pretty much running through her repertoire of fear and anxiety expressions (and exhausting our interest), Della manages to get back to her SUV to make a getaway. But this is thwarted when she loses control and runs into a post that nearly decapitates her. As the posse of dangerous delinquents bears down on her, and her attempt to restart the car's engine by re-attaching the battery cable fails, she grabs the toolbox and heads back into the woods on foot.
It's hard to imagine this one-note, reality-bending scenario working for any but an adolescent audience, with the femme side especially primed to celebrate the manner in which this lone woman fends off four inept degenerates who threaten rape and, probably, death. She surprises us all by managing to assert herself in strictly non-suburban ways.
First-time writer-director Susan Montford's dialogue is somewhere between kindergarten and film school, matching its simplistic plot to the short story by Edward Bryant on which it's based. It never is explained why every room in Della's house is littered with the toys and dirty clothing of her twin children -- frankly giving hubby good reason to yell at her. Who wouldn't? Yet his anger is just a poorly thought-out device to establish him as the abusive bad guy at home. Poor woman, she loves her kids, but this cat-and-mouse forest adventure leaves out the part about what makes her tick.
Lukas Haas (Alpha Dog) is Basinger's co-star as chief bad guy Chuckie; it's a role to enhance his villain creds but with little to recommend his use of the opportunity. On the positive side, the film has excellent poster art and clocks in at an appropriately economical 88 minute length. And there's actually something truly and intentionally funny in the film. After what seems a record number of credits for executive producers in the opening titles -- it seems like the beginning of a gag reel -- the best joke is the understatement of the title. Kudos to whoever came up with it. The rest of you are fired.