In the midst of this silent chaos comes a much louder one when a bleeding man (Jamie Bell) dressed in military fatigues stumbles onto their territory and passes out. Kate and Martin take him in, making sure to remove the gun from his waistband. When he wakes up, he tells them the alarming news that there's a global outbreak of a deadly airborne flu, and he was deployed by the Army to the island to maintain order. He says they need to stay in their home and seal up the home and defend themselves against any people who might try to force their way inside.
The couple struggles to overcome their differences in order to work together to figure out if the increasingly erratic stranger, who says his name is Jack, is telling the truth. If he is, they may be doomed, but at least he's trustworthy. If he's not, they're safe from a killer virus, but they may be trapped with a psychopath.
The End Result
The climactic twists are interesting and are the only aspects that threaten to give the film a pulse, but they come too late and they feel less like twists than neck-wrenching turns that don't fully jibe with the rest of the movie. Characterizations take an about-turn in the final few minutes, making us pretty much ambivalent about everyone involved. Although it's core plot is similar, Retreat could learn a lot from the much superior 1989 Australian thriller Dead Calm.
- Acting: C+ (Good actors feel hamstrung by the restrictive direction and writing.)
- Direction: D+ (Dull, perfunctory, lacking in thrills.)
- Script: C- (A good framework for a story that's limply executed.)
- Gore/Effects: C (Little to speak of.)
- Overall: C- (Not terrible, but little more than bland background filler.)
Retreat is directed by Carl Tibbetts and and is rated R by the MPAA for violence and for language throughout. Release date: October 21, 2011.