Recently, I was thinking of a movie to watch. What came to my mind right away among that topic was a suspense movie. Therefore, I came across “The Living.” This is an independent thriller that is captivating, has good character structure, a great screenplay, and a twisted plot with a rather odd climax. However, the film is not that brilliant. Given the conflict in the movie is kind of silly and gets blown completely out of proportion. However, the surprising part is that the fact that the gruesome violence comes across a teenager.
The film stars many unknown actors and it takes place in Auburn, Pennsylvania. The film begins with bringing viewers to a damaged room with clues that domestic violence occurred before hand. The married couple is Teddy and Molly (Fran Kranz and Jocelin Donahue) and they are having serious problems. Teddy abuses Molly badly where her face is bruised up. This makes Molly’s brother Gordon (Kenny Wormald) resent Teddy entirely. Gordon has a big grudge on Teddy and wants to protect his sister. Teddy’s behavior makes Gordon want to end Teddy.
For a guy like Gordon, he does not have the guts. He is just a nerd who works in a grocery store and does not really have faith in his own self to be protective. For Wormald, his shyness he portrays does not do it for me. Just he carries his shyness to an extent where his pride to being the big guy in a scary situation does not seem to add up to the film’s suspense. Suspense is built though with this nerd actor as the film progresses on. I will elaborate more on the premise of what makes the film suspenseful. Then you will have an idea of what I mean on terms of the characterization of Gordon.
With Gordon being defenseless, he hires an ex-con to kill Teddy. He arranges to meet with the guy in person before the events happen. However, he has no idea of what he is getting himself into. The ex-con’s name is Howard (Chris Mulkey). As soon as Gordon and Howard meet, Gordon realizes he put himself in a major, yet terrifying mess upon him. Howard wants the money before he kills Teddy. Wait that is not all. He also wants Gordon to be in his site at all times before the killing even takes place. This makes Howard ride with Gordon all night long to the location of where Teddy lives.
There are times on the car ride where Howard is disturbing. He kills a few people along the way, seriously questions Gordon uncomfortably, and even threatens to hurt him if he attempts to run. This is a major disaster to the point where viewers will wonder why Gordon did not just talk to Teddy instead of putting himself into this array of violence, regret, and possibly death.
Writer and director Jack Bryan is interesting with how he has the movie setup. I like the scenery of Pennsylvania, the very few characters elements, and one twisted plot. I will say this is like an independent version of The Hitcher, however, with no car chases, less, but strong violence, and an extremely gruesome conclusion (that is something you will have to find out if you watch the movie). Overall, I will say three solid stars.