DVD REVIEW: MINE GAMES / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: RICHARD GRAY / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANNA EVIGAN, ETHAN PECK, JULIANNA GUILL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: taking a break from full-time education, job hunting and contributing to society, a group of attractive, all-white mostly-American youngsters head off to their clichéd vacation destination of choice – a rickety old cabin (you guessed it) in the woods.
Among the so-called characters, there’s the troubled one, recovering from mental health issues, his sympathetic girlfriend (played by recognisable face Brianna Evigan), the annoying boozehound, the hippy, the blonde, and the bland. Gathering for a weekend of drinking, partying and swimming in the nearby waterhole, the group are surprised to find the existence of a mysterious mine beneath their cabin. Ill-advisedly investigating, what the kids find there turns their holiday (literally) back to front, and it’s not long before they’re fighting, locking each other downstairs in the mine and otherwise dropping like flies.
Like, yes, Cabin in the Woods, there’s nothing so simple as serial killers, hillbillies or even zombies at play in Mine Games. Instead, the stage is set for a twisty, timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly sort of thriller that has more in common with Doctor Who than The Evil Dead. We’ve mentioned Cabin in the Woods, but its closest comparison is the ill-remembered (but not that bad) Melissa George vehicle Triangle. To go much deeper would be entering spoilery territory, but the dull characters and uninspired writing don't exactly make it worth one's while waiting for the mysteries to unravel.
It's appreciated that Mine Games tries to do something a little different with its characters and location, but that promise is sadly wasted in execution. The sci-fi elements take too long to kick in, the ideas never utilised to their full effect. Like its characters, viewers may feel a little trapped watching Mine Games – a mundane horror film which really does make the passing of time feel like a considerably slower affair.
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