Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Kelly’s life is spinning out of control. Her mother recently committed suicide leaving Kelly behind with an autistic brother, Tom, and a jerk stepfather, Johnny. Although Kelly has the opportunity to go to college with a scholarship, she would have to leave her brother behind. An attempt to place Tom in a special care facility fails when she learns that her stepfather has stolen her inheritance in order to convert his ranch into a safari. Johnny spent most of the money on a large tiger, which hasn’t eaten in two weeks – “That’s how to teach them whose boss!” Johnny informs Kelly.
After unsuccessfully confronting Johnny she is forced to stay in his sprawling home with her brother because a category 4 hurricane is imminent. In preparation for the hurricane Johnny has the house boarded up like a prison. Late that night as the hurricane rages outside, Kelly awakes to find that the tiger has been let loose in the house and the front door has been boarded up from the outside. Did I mention that the tiger hasn’t eaten in two weeks?
If you can swallow the ridiculous setup you’ll be well rewarded. The majority of the film is Kelly tiptoeing around the house in silence in an attempt to find a way out while being stalked by a ferocious tiger. Long stretches of silence/tension are punctuated by terrifying tiger attacks. All 11 feet and 600+ pounds of him. A scene in a laundry chute is one of the tensest sequences I’ve seen in years. Adding to the pressure is Kelly’s autistic brother, who I’d throw to the tiger in order to escape (yes, he’s that annoying) because he is unable to appreciate the feline danger and often disobeys Kelly when she hides him in a room or closet and instructs him to remain quiet. Adding a raging hurricane was a necessary plot convenience but it’s ultimately brilliant! Even if Kelly is able to find a way out she’ll be confronted with the life-threatening storm.
It would be a tremendous disservice to sum this film up as “a woman is stalked by a tiger”, which while factually accurate does not capture the nail-biting tension the set-up affords. The tiger is very real and director Carlos Brooks does an excellent job showcasing just how scary it would be to encounter one of these orange monsters in real life. Loved this predicament!
Check out the trailer,