Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Jogger - Review - @BrandonCSites


The Jogger (2013) **
D: Jeff Robison, Casey Twenter
C: Derek Phillips, Jason Wiles, Cameron Richardson, Darryl Cox, Stephanie Jackson, Zach Lewis, Drew Pollock

Plot Synopsis: A man goes on an evening jog only to have it turn into a race for his life when he is stalked by a psychotic killer.

Review: The Jogger features one of the most unremarkable thriller plots in recent memory. The story pretty much amounts to a man, who during a jog, becomes stalked by a psycho. That's it! That's the story. Talk about a skimpy hook to hang an entire movie onto!

Even the elements, that are in service of the thriller plot, are pretty unremarkable. It's decently paced, but clocking in at 72 minutes, that should be a given, not something praise worthy. The suspense never lags, but it's never palpable either. The heightened music cues get the job done, but they're nothing special ....either. Even the overall thriller scenarios, while adequate, lack anything distinctive ....either!

To spice things up, there's a twist (a mild one at that), involving the identity of the psycho. When it comes to this reveal, it left me confused. Not confused in the sense of I didn't get who the psycho is, but why they're a psycho. Throughout, they're painting three distinctly different pictures. 
  • One is of a character who feels mistreated by the world around him. 
  • Another deals with the duality of that same character in how he puts up a weak facade to the world, but wishes to be someone who isn't afraid to go after what he wants. 
  • Finally, the third deals with the hidden side of a seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. 
In looking at each different picture:
  • Is the killer speared on, because of being mistreated? Maybe?!? 
  • Is the killer embracing their psychotic tendencies and, in affect, becoming the second half of who they wish to be vs who they are? Possibly?!? 
  • Or, is it a metaphorical approach to taking on an idyllic surrounding that has a killer in its vicinity? You're guess is as good as mine. 
For a movie with a simplistic plot, it's all the more surprising that they couldn't get the thriller elements down pat. However, there's one praise worthy element and that comes to the moments of character interaction. There's a scene between a married couple, who are distant from one another. The wife tells her husband to use a glass while drinking orange juice and to make sure he places his glass in the sink. This scene tangibly evokes the tension & unease that the couple is experiencing with each other, because it speaks to how the husband feels that his wife isn't considerate of him and is more concerned with putting up superficial appearances. It's a nuanced approach to taking on martial dysfunction, that rings true, but without doing it an overtly obvious way.

It's scenes like this, that have power and the cast is effective at conveying these emotions. They're some of the most carefully considered moments, of any indie indie, in recent memory. There's only one problem. They're placed in between the thriller moments, used as flashbacks, to show the title character's life before being confronted by a psycho. As a result of their placement, they feel like padding or even filler to get the running time to 72 minutes. They don't feel like scenes that actually contribute to telling the story of a psycho and victim, at wits, with one another.

In a lot of ways, The Jogger reminds me of the Saw franchise, in that it tells a story while using flashbacks. The difference is that with the Saw movies, they used flashbacks to clue the audience into various subtleties about the characters that enhanced the premise. With The Jogger, the thriller premise and character flashbacks are two separate movies that have been stitched together. Neither one comes together to form a cohesive whole.

In the end, The Jogger takes a basic premise and turns it into a shapeless blob, but, at least, there's a few redeeming moments. [Not Rated] 72 minutes.


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