Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

River Wild is a serviceable remake

Ben Katai modernizes a nineties thriller in River Wild from Universal Home Entertainment. Katai pens the script with Mike Nguyen Le. Joey (Leighton Meester) fears there could be trouble ahead after her brother Gray (Taran Killam) invites Trevor (Adam Brody), a childhood friend with a troubled past, on their whitewater rafting adventure with two tourists. 

Once they become stranded in raging rapids, the thrill-seeking trip quickly turns exciting to utterly terrifying as the rafters are trapped in a desperate fight for their lives. At the same time, someone seems intent on sabotaging to ensure shocking secrets stay buried. To survive the wild river, Joey will have to face her fears, and everyone will have to develop killer instincts before they’re torn apart by deception aboard the raft or by deadly waters wreaking havoc all around them.

For the film to have a low budget, Leighton Meester delivers a solid performance as Joey, a strong and determined sister who must protect her family from the relentless criminal played by Brody. Meester’s portrayal of Joey showcases her versatility as an actress, seamlessly transitioning from a caring wife to a fierce and resourceful woman fighting for her family’s survival. Her performance anchors the film and keeps the viewers engaged throughout.

Adam Brody is equally impressive as the charismatic yet menacing criminal, providing a chilling and convincing portrayal of a man willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve his goals. His chemistry with his real-life wife, Messier, adds a layer of tension to the film as they battle wits and wills.

The cinematography of River Wild is stunning, capturing the raw power and beauty of the river and the surrounding wilderness. The film takes full advantage of its picturesque location, using it as both a backdrop and a character in the story. The whitewater rafting sequences are intense and exhilarating, providing thrilling moments that keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

While not groundbreaking, the screenplay effectively builds tension and suspense as the family’s situation becomes increasingly dire. The pacing is well-executed, with the tension escalating gradually, leading to a satisfying climax. The film also explores themes of family bonds, survival, and the strength of the human spirit.

Overall, River Wild is an engaging and suspenseful film that showcases the talents of its cast and captures the beauty and danger of the river setting. It combines thrilling action sequences with compelling performances, making it an enjoyable watch for fans of the genre.

Final Grade: B

River Wild is available for rent and purchase.

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River Wild is a serviceable remake

River Wild is a serviceable remake