Directed by: Christopher Smith
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley
Christopher Smith (the evil genius who gifted us modern day classics Severance, Creep, Black Death and Triangle) returns with less of a horror film and more of a thriller piece. Detour does however feature a few very brutal visuals and a chaotic enough set of occurrences to earn a split classification as a thriller/horror installment.
But why am I talking about the categorization of a movie?
Christopher Smith’s films are always anchored in a pitch black realm of the macabre, and while Detour may not necessarily frighten you, it will leave your jaw on the floor on more than a single instance.
The story follows young Harper who couldn’t possibly be in a worse situation. His mother’s been in a coma for some time, and the medical facility is suggesting he pulls the plug, as there’s no brain activity whatsoever. He suspects his step-father has been seeing someone else, and even worse, that he may have had something to do with the car accident that left his mother in a coma. Just to ensure this insane set of circumstances is complete, we soon meet a tough guy willing to murder for money and his sidekick who knows more than a single “John.”
It’s hard not to really divulge key information of the film, as it operates more as a character study than the fast-twitch fiber most filmmakers utilize as their focal approach in 2017, and that alone makes me want to spill the beans. But Smith has always understood the importance of not only caring for a character, but taking as much time as necessary to ensure their fates and their decision making holds great weight with viewers. If there’s anyone out there reading their fan base properly, it’s Christopher Smith.
As you head into this one, anticipate some great performances (Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen and Bel Powley are all fantastic), creative maneuvers executed wonderfully in the editing room (at times the film feels like a live action comic, and not in the stomach turning kind of way) and a wildly engaging duality of the narrative that leaves viewers constantly guessing at what’s real and what is imagination. Smith improves as a story teller with every film he makes, and the man deserves applause for his top notch work behind the camera.