Don’t Go Hitchhiking With Strangers
For an unknown film financed and shot in South Africa with no star power, Accident looks pretty as a movie with its outstanding production values. That is about the only positive factor one can likely mention in this inane “thriller” which uses increasingly baffling plot twists as its calling card. Writer and director Dan Tandowski’s film was completed a couple of years ago. It is telling that Accident is only now hitting home video in 2019. Turkeys like Accident are often delayed for release long after production ends.
Best friends Jess (Stephanie Schildknecht but credited here as Stephanie Shield) and Caroline (Roxane Hayward) are two young women on their way to a music festival in Tahoe, when their ride flakes out. In the first of many poor decisions made by these two ladies, they decide hitchhiking along the highways of California is a swell idea. Accident tries very hard to pretend that South Africa is really California and that this is an American thriller made for audiences in the United States. They almost get away with it except for using a car with the driver on the right side.
Their happy weekend will never be the same after getting picked up by two young men in a flashy sports car, Fred (Tyrone Keogh) and Thomas (Keenan Arrison). Two attractive girls and two eligible guys looking for a good time. Funny how that always works out perfectly in movies. Long ago, hitchhiking was once common across America before Hollywood decided it made an excellent premise for every two-bit thriller. Seeing someone trying to hitch-hike in a movie like Accident almost feels quaint. What looks like cheesy fun at the beginning turns into a dull, stupid and repetitive plot for a thriller.
… a dull, stupid and repetitive plot for a thriller
… a dull, stupid and repetitive plot for a thriller
Befitting the movie’s name, an incident precipitated by one of the men in the car will cause a disastrous car accident in a remote location. I hate spoiling plot details but this relatively early inflection point sets up the movie’s tedious upcoming seventy minutes. The premise of Accident is more concerned with how these four people deal with the crash. Conveniently, smartphone reception is waved away in a dumb sleight of hand. The job of directing a modern thriller has become infinitely tougher in a world of always-connected smartphones.
Accident’s premise simply doesn’t work and has a hard time maintaining interest. The plot dwells far too long on the trapped victims after the car crash. One character remains unconscious for much of the movie, while another character hangs suspended upside down for the middle acts. There really isn’t a likable character in Accident, which is a problem.
Once you learn the backstory behind Fred and Thomas, you’ll like them even less than before. There’s an odd shift in their characterization, with one of them painted in competing positive and negative lights. I’m pretty sure there were massive changes to the script as the movie was being filmed.
The attractive cast gives it their best college try and male lead Tyrone Keogh does his best working within the limitations of a poor script. Technically, the production values are outstanding and its VFX punch well above this independent movie’s low-budget origins. Even the cinematography and scoring are solid for this kind of derivative b-movie fare.
Where Accident fails is a thin premise stretched out long past its expiration and a poor script. This is an easily avoidable thriller that gets more and more ridiculous after you realize they are going to stick in the same crash setting for a long time.
Accident has fairly crisp 1080P video obviously shot on modern digital cameras. It receives a mostly serviceable AVC encode with minor banding and a few noise issues in the darker scenes. The movie has impressive production values for an independent movie made in South Africa, which does translate to moderately entertaining visuals.
The video isn’t perfect. Some lapses in the contrast and blown-out colors indicate digital grading issues that weren’t corrected in post. Well GO USA gives the 2.39:1 presentation a fair treatment on Blu-ray.
Accident’s video usually has nice detail with some depth and real definition. The picture quality is better than average much of the time, showcasing darker shades of green in the crash location. There are some inconsistencies outside of the largely stable black levels in terms of sheer detail and contrast.
Accident’s audio design suffers from a few issues. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio offers some immersion and a decent array of discrete cues, but strangely lacking in critical moments. The dialogue also sounds tinny and oddly distant at times from the rest of the mix. It’s not a well-balanced mix, albeit decent amounts of LFE are pushed when necessary.
A secondary 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack is included. Optional English SDH subs appear in a white font, inside the scope presentation at all times.
Nothing is provided outside of the trailer. It is unknown if a slipcover is available. The disc is marked as Region A.
Accident Trailer (01:38 in HD)
Well GO USA Trailers (05:52 in HD) – Three trailers precede the main menu and can also be picked from the options menu: Triple Threat, Jonathan, The Endless.
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A lame, brain-dead “thriller” that looks nice, but is poor on characterization and everything else that matters in a thriller.
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