How tenuous is man’s hold on civilization when survival becomes an issue? When the lights go out and stay out for several days, suburbanites Matthew and Annie learn the hard way that man is “by nature” a predatory creature. Matthew’s long-time friend, Joe, happens by on the second day and a rivalry between the two friends simmers as Annie cares for her sick baby. When rumors of looting spread through the neighborhood, the two men buy a shotgun for protection but Annie throws it in the pool. Later, that same night, Joe hears a prowler downstairs and awakens Matthew. They chase the stranger from the house and out into the street where a neighbor shoots him to death. No longer safe in their own home, they decide to drive to Annie’s parents some 500 miles away. Before they reach their destination, more trouble comes their way when they stop to siphon gas from an abandoned car and discover the driver in the back seat… Is this what is meant by “man’s inhumanity to man?”
Scriptwriter David Koepp made his directorial debut with this having previously written Amblin’s own Jurassic Park as well as Death Becomes Her, Carlito’s Way, The Paper, The Shadow, and Mission: Impossible.
The premise alone is pretty interesting on its’ own, watching a town lose its’ mind once the power goes out. Imagine that terrible series Revolution only 16 years earlier.
As far as the film itself goes, it’s just okay. I think the high concept premise gets overshadowed by the mediocre performances from Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue, and Dermot Mulroney, three actors who have more than proven their worth but here, they really don’t give that much to the film itself. The plot itself gets overshadowed by a pretty lackluster cliché riddled script, you can predict much of what this movie will end up becoming.
Overall, the film is just okay, it has its’ moments of suspense and excitement but they are very few and far between. It’s a shame because this premise is worthy of a far superior film but for what this is, it’s passable…certainly kicks the everloving crap out of Revolution, god what an awful show that was.