Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
With: Chad Michael Murray, Bruce Willis, Tyler Jon Olson, Shea Buckner, Lydia Hull, Jessica Abrams
Written by: Doug Wolfe
Directed by: Matt Eskandari
MPAA Rating: R for violence, bloody images and language throughout
Running Time: 89
Date: 05/22/2020

Survive the Night (2020)

1 Star (out of 4)

Survivor Wilt

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It looks and sounds like a real thriller, but the setup, and the character behaviors and interactions, are so stunningly absurd that it becomes nearly impossible to turn off one's brain and enjoy.

In Survive the Night, two robber brothers, the in-charge Mathias (Tyler Jon Olson) and the loose-cannon Jamie (Shea Buckner), successfully pull off a job and plan to go to Mexico with their takings. But the unhinged Jamie shoots up a convenience store, and Mathias is shot in the leg. To save his life, the brothers break into the home of Rich (Chad Michael Murray), a disgraced doctor who lost his license after a malpractice suit.

The brothers accidentally shoot and kill Rich's mother, and then take Rich's family — wife Jan (Lydia Hull), daughter Rachel (Jessica Abrams), and father Frank (Bruce Willis) — hostage. But Frank, a hard, retired sheriff, isn't about to take any of this sitting down, and before long the entire family is fighting for their lives.

Survive the Night sets up its six main characters through two irritatingly misplaced conversations. First, the brother thieves escape from their robbery and then, apparently in a hurry, pull in a parking lot and stop while discussing their plans to move to Mexico. Meanwhile, the family has an argument about the doctor's decision to not fight the malpractice suit (wherein a man died under his care), as if this were the first time they have talked about it; wouldn't they have had that option before?

The doctor's dialogue describing what went wrong is laughable: "I cut when I should have stitched, or stitched when I should have cut... I don't even know!"

Later, when the cat-and-mouse section starts, Survive the Night has a hard time keeping track of everyone. Characters are stuck in one place for long periods of time, or otherwise, spend long periods of time stumbling around, bleeding all over the place, looking for each other, and shooting at (and missing) each other. There's even a completely pointless car chase!

Perhaps most awkwardly, the movie tries to make the brother criminals somewhat sympathetic, and yet still treats them with contempt. This movie is so shockingly bad it will leave you gobsmacked.

Movies Unlimtied