LAST STOP (2014)
aka DON’T BLINK
Written and Directed by Travis Oates
A group of friends decide to stop in a rocky mountain lodge for the weekend but upon their arrival, they’re shocked to discover that there’s not a single soul about. To make matters worse, it appears those that were there left in a hurry as personal items are still present and breakfasts sit half-eaten. With no-one around, not even an animal, bird or creepy crawly, a few of the group are adamant they should leave but with not enough petrol to reach town they’ve no choice but to stay. As the first of the group mysteriously goes missing, they’ll be lucky if they survive the night…
Mystery thriller LAST STOP, also known as Don’t Blink, is a magnificent indie character piece with performances from Mena Suvari, Zack Ward and Brian Austin Green to just name a few. Combining spooky horror elements with an isolated cabin setting where people mysteriously disappear when not being looked at, there’s plenty to keep you glued to the screen.
The film opens with the friends travelling to their destination to the tune of John Denver’s ‘Rocky Mountain High’ which is fantastic way of introducing each of the characters to the viewer. There’s great banter in the movie which feels authentic to each performance. You could really believe that these are a group of friends and you find yourself actually caring for most of them which is more than can be said for some other horrors and thrillers. My favourite character has to be Alex played by Zack Ward. Not only does he own the most badass car in the film but he actually speaks a whole lot of sense and I found myself agreeing with his take on the whole ordeal. That’s the fantastic thing about this movie. You’ll find someone you’ll agree with and, like the characters, you don’t have a clue as to whether your thoughts on the strange events are right or wrong. You must go only by gut instinct. In that respect, you fear for every single one of them as you anticipate which person will be the next to disappear into thin air and when.
Travis Oates’ choice not to explain the events leaves it up to viewer interpretation. Is this isolated landscape purgatory? Is it rapture? Is it all in someone’s head? Is it something to do with vortexes and parallel dimensions? There’s so many possibilities which makes the film great for debating. Whilst a little part of me wants to know the reason behind it all, I’m quite happy with how the film finishes so you can make your own mind up what happens even though I can’t possibly say the same for television series Lost.
Despite most of the action taking place inside the cabin, the film manages to maintain a steady pace, increasing the tension between the characters and a fear of the unknown. In a way it reminds me of last year’s sci-fi thriller Coherence but is more open to interpretation and may or may not have anything to do with quantum physics.
If you like your films with an air of mystery, then LAST STOP is worth checking out.