Blumhouse channel their inner Frequency in this supernatural spin on the underrated early noughties thriller!
Whilst the 90’s are fondly remembered for being a period of slasher films mixed in with high octane action blockbusters, there were a few films that slid in unnoticed that were underrated entertainment; films that have become forgotten now from a decade long gone in history.
Frequency was released in the first few months of 2000 and still bares the hallmarks of a 90’s flick. With the likes of The Sixth Sense and Stir Of Echoes causing waves at the box-office, Frequency came across like a mixture of those films, with a touch of a Back To The Future, and, not surprisingly, had great reviews with the critics and delivered a modest box office.
The film did inspire a short lived 2016 TV series and maybe that is why Blumhouse saw an opportunity to mix up the formula and offer up a similar premise, but this time with a supernatural twist to entice an audience now living in 2020.
Parts of Don’t Let Go suggest that this idea was a good one. It has a strong hook from the off, that grabs your attention, and with a good lead, in the shape of Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo), makes it more than a pleasing Saturday night rental.
Jack is a very protective Uncle to his niece Ashley (Storm Reid), whose life is saddled by her Dad, Jack’s brother, Garrett’s (Brian Tyree Henry) misdemeanours.
After receiving a weird phone call from Ashley and then visiting their home, he finds the family murdered in brutal fashion.
Traumatised by Ashley’s senseless death and then having to bury the ones he loved, Jack starts to receive phone calls from Ashley (replacing the HAM radio vice from Frequency) just days after the funeral. How is that possible? Well thanks to a Spray Can, Jack realises that the Ashley he is talking to is from days before her death and with past and present set to collide, Jack needs Ashley’s help to find out who is set to commit these murders and also maybe change the timeline to which his niece is alive and well.
You can see that much like Frequency, the gimmick works brilliantly. There is nothing like a Time Travel element to grab your attention and for 80% of the running time, Don’t Let Go works. There is a nice fast pace, the interplay between Uncle and Niece (with most of it being a conversation over the phone) is engaging, and there is a sense of dread that a film like this desperately needs. The trouble is, the film ends up being nothing spectacular when it comes to the remaining 20%.
There is one frustrating plot flaw that will grab a few people’s attention, that will automatically have you realising who and why is behind the murders and, by the time the reveal is made, it will not be as surprisingly as the makers so desperately wanted it to be.
While it may leave a bit of a disappointing aftertaste, the journey to it is enjoyable nonsense that many will like, even though not love, and suggests Blumhouse can move away from its usual Ghostly and slasher shenanigans.
Don’t Let Go isn’t perfect but in an age of superheroes running amok and re-boots aplenty, it’s a gentle reminder that, at times, a bit of silliness is more than enough to keep us entertained.
Don’t Let Go is out now to Rent and Buy