(director: K Asher Levin; screenwriters: Banipal Ablakhad/Benhur Ablakhad; cinematographer: Stephen St. Peter; editor: Marc Fusco; cast: Thomas Jane (Scott Brennan), Nick Check (Jane’s boyfriend), Liana Liberato (Lola), Harlow Jane (Jane Brennan), Emile Hirsch (Victor), Makana David (Tommy), Diego Romero (Neighbor), Michael Vincent Berry (Utility Worker), Arthur Rodriguez (Pablo), Ramona DuBarry (Doctor), Ashleigh Domangue (Linda Brennan) Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jason Armstrong, Daniel Cummings, Robert Dean, Rob Goodrich; Lionsgate/Saban Films; 2022)

“The threadbare story is threadbare.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

K. Asher Levin (“Sweetie Pie”/”Cougars Inc”) directs this cringe-worthy misfire thriller set in the American Southwestern desert. It’s ineptly scripted without much logic by first-time writers Banipal and Benhur Ablakhad.

The widowed subcontractor Scott Brennan (Thomas Jane), with anger-management issues (highlighted in a prologue, where he pulls his daughter away from a party where she’s with her boyfriend (Nick Check) and when on the way home he gets cut off on the road and has a road rage shouting match with the other driver, who responds by pulling out a gun and killing his wife (Ashleigh Domangue) and firing a shot that makes his 16-year-old daughter Jane (Harlow Jane, his real daughter) deaf).

Afterwards Scott accepts a lucrative but suspicious digging job at a desert property to pay for a procedure for his deaf daughter, as he’s on a guilt-trip — feeling responsible for his daughter’s tragedy.

It turns out the sleazy homeowner Victor (Emile Hirsch) who hired Scott is an over-the-top monster, and his tattooed girlfriend Lola (Liana Liberato) is a certifiable sicko, who willingly partners with him and goes along with his criminal behavior. When Scott discovers the desert house is owned by drug operators who use the place to stash drug money and drugs, he now must outsmart the captors to escape with his daughter when held hostage.

It leads to an uninteresting confrontation in the third act between the screwed up Scott and the violent psychopath couple. The dialogue is atrocious. the photography is bland and the threadbare story is threadbare.

REVIEWED ON 11/17/2022  GRADE: C