Horror review: A Perfect Getaway

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 5, 2009

Watching too many scary tourist-in-peril flicks can make you paranoid. The last time I was in Puerto Vallarta, I hopped in a cab before realizing that the car had neither a meter nor a two-way radio. And why was the driver heading away from the general direction of my destination? Was this Mexican dude gonna take me somewhere where I’d be butchered and relieved of my vital organs?

Or, worse yet, forced to sit through a time-share presentation?

I eventually made it safely to my hotel—the worrisome detour turned out to be a shortcut—but the same can’t be said about the vacationers in A Perfect Getaway, a riveting horror-thriller that should do for hiking in Hawaii what Hostel did for backpacking in Slovakia.

Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich play semi-geeky screenwriter Cliff and upbeat party girl Cydney, blissfully unaware newlyweds who arrive in paradise just as news of another couple’s brutal murder is making headlines there. Cliff wastes no time in drawing the attention of unsavoury-looking locals by flashing a hefty wad of cash; soon after, his flippant remarks make him enemies with a pair of sketchy hitchhikers (Chris Hemsworth and Planet Terror’s Marley Shelton).

The suspense ratchets up when the honeymooners become hiking buddies with a tough-as-nails ex-Marine (Timothy Olyphant, channelling Michael Biehn) and his free-spirited southern girlfriend (Lost’s Kiele Sanchez).

I won’t reveal anything else because the less you know about this engrossing heart stopper the better. I can say that the mayhem unfolds against some stunningly gorgeous shots of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Jamaica, and for that reason alone you should see it on the big screen.

Writer-director David Twohy’s exhilarating shocker is, indeed, a perfect getaway for horror fans hoping to escape Hollywood’s typically tepid fright fare.

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