(US - 2020)
Directed by Matt Eskandari. Written by Doug Wolfe. Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Bruce Willis, Shea Buckner, Tyler Jon Olson, Lydia Hull, Riley Wolfe Rach, Jessica Abrams, Sara Lynn Holbrook, Jef Holbrook, Ravare Elise Rupert. (R, 89 mins)
"He went to get help."
And there it is. "He went to get help." It takes longer than usual--about 45 minutes--for Bruce Willis to find his way out of SURVIVE THE NIGHT, the latest installment in Lionsgate's landmark "Bruce Willis Phones In His Performance From His Hotel Room" series. Of course, it's premiering exclusively on VOD, with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus preventing this newest entry from making its standard simultaneous ten-screen, one-to-two-showings per day theatrical bow. But other than that, it's business as usual for Willis who, even before it became a matter of public health, has long been a practitioner of socially distancing himself from the co-stars and plots of movies he's actually in. To his credit, Willis, reuniting with director Matt Eskandari after their TRAUMA CENTER triumph, is onscreen quite a bit in SURVIVE THE NIGHT, but he frequently appears visibly inconvenienced and couldn't appear less invested in the proceedings. It's a DESPERATE HOURS home invasion scenario minus any sense of suspense, urgency, or even light, as it takes place in almost total darkness, with two sibling fugitives--violent psycho Jamie (Shea Buckner) and somewhat more rational Matthias (Tyler Jon Olson)--on the run and, as typically happens, only making things worse for themselves. Jamie impulsively decides to start shooting in a carryout, killing a hostage and starting a skirmish that ends up with Matthias getting hit in the leg, opening his femoral artery. Traveling the back roads, they find the "Country Clinic" is closed, so they decide to follow doctor Rich (Chad Michael Murray) back to his home.