Estranged brother and sister Gray and Joey, embark on a whitewater rafting trip amongst tourists with their childhood friend named Trevor. Along the river, the events quickly turn from exciting to terrifying, as the group finds themselves trapped alongside a killer who is intent to sabotage the trip while keeping secrets from the past from being revealed. Joey must overcome her fears and work with her brother Gary to survive to the end of the river, before it’s too late.
If you’ve seen the 1994 Meryl Streep thriller The River Wild, put that out of your mind if you decide to watch the mild reboot River Wild, on Netflix. The only thing these two movies have in common is the Dennis O’Neil source novel. The Streep movie was a Hitchcock lite thriller that is well remembered. The Netflix version is neither sequel nor remake. It stars Leighton Meester and is a pretty dark white water rafting trip involving sibling rivalry turned mad and murderous.
The Streep version was about family protection. The Netflix one is about misguided loyalties and family destruction. The Streep perfectly fits the big screen- the other suits the small.
River Wild’s family dynamics are grim. This is more close to Friday the 13th. The villain (Adam Brody) wears tattoos instead of a hockey mask. Those who follow horror movies can easily guess who will be the last man or woman standing.
River Wild dredges up all kinds of emotions between the formerly estranged siblings. The plot device that sets the dynamics in motion is rather clumsily handled. Yet, when it does get going, the tight direction and generally good acting, makes the sinister intensity believable. It becomes a somber study of mistakes, secrets and self preservation, getting more feral as it collapses from its humanity.
River Wild gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
- Ben Ketai
by Denis O’Neill
- Ogden Gavanski
- Daniel Kresmery
- Anne-Marie Roberge
Gevorg Gev Juguryan
- Universal 1440 Entertainment
- Hero Squared Productions
- August 1, 2023