13th May2020

‘Getaway’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jaclyn Betham, Scout Taylor-Compton, Landry Allbright, Lane Toran, Noah Lowdermilk, Jamil Walker Smith, Lane Caudell, Ben Deschaine | Written by Lane Toran, Jaclyn Betham | Directed by Lane Toran

You know how some genre films just have strange backgrounds? People involved that you’d never believe would have anything to do with a horror film? Getaway is one of those films… You see this film is co-written and directed by Lane Toran. Who’s he you might ask? He’s only the voice of Arnold in the classic Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold! and the voice of King Bob in Recess! Yes, a former childrens TV star turns genre filmmaker, its’ safe to say Getaway is worlds apart from those roles – but Toran isn’t the first to make the jump from kids TV to horror and he won’t be the last.

However, judging by Getaway, not only will Toran have a long career in the genre; he’s also seemingly a fan – there are influences aplenty in this film, reaching back as far as the 70s and the more obscure backwoods horror of that decade, the types of which are only now being rediscovered by the likes of AGFA and Vinegar Syndrome. Probably in part due to his father, Lane Caudell, not only appearing in some such films (Satan’s Cheerleaders for one) but also composing scores for genre fare like Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot.

Why do I mention those older genre fare? Well at first glance Getaway sounds like your typical backwoods hillbilly slasher clone; with a woman, Tamara (Jaclyn Betham), who gets kidnapped by a backwoods cult during a planned a weekend lake getaway with her lifelong two best friends. So far, so cliched right? On paper yes, but in reality Getaway veers sharply from the typical nut-job killer family trope almost as soon as Tamara is in the hands of her captors. In an attempt to throw off the religious trio that are raping and killing in the “name of the lord”, Tamara curses the men, claiming to be a witch, then eerie and unexplained occurrences actually start to arise… Shades of the occult horrors of the 70s right there.

On a side note, Toran’s father Lane also came out of acting retirement to also appear in this film, making this something of a family affair. Kudos to Lane Caudell for throwing himself back in the deep end in a huge way here too: he plays the head of the cult-like family who seems to like masturbating with the scalps of his dead victims! Way to make a unforgettable comeback right there!

But its not all Toran’s work. He co-wrote Getaway with its leading lady, and wife, Jaclyn Betham. And it’s Betham who it turns out is the hidden weapon of this movie. Her character starts out in typical genre-fare fashion, seemingly a little vacuous, all about the party lifestyle; but then when she kidnapped things change – her performance, mostly through small, subtle, nuances in her facial expressions, flickers from scared innocent girl to possible collaborator of the devil; you honestly never know what the truth is.

And it turns out thats Getaway‘s biggest success – it keeps you guessing all the way. From start to almost finish Toran and co. play their proverbial cards close to their chest, never confirming if there’s evil – that not the human kind – afoot or not. When the truth is revealed you can’t help but have a huge grin on your face as the script, penned Toran and Betham, takes all too familiar cliches and turns them on their head, ultimately revealing that the duo know exactly what makes these genre films tick and how to subvert an audiences expectation – even if that audience is all-too-familiar with the films your paying homage too.

One of the best directorial debuts in the genre in some time (and a great debut for the husband and wife writing duo of Toran and Betham), Getaway deserves more than the straight to market release it’s received. Genre fans should seek this one out and [hopefully] sings its praises as loud as they can. Then we might see more decent horror fare like this in cinemas rather than the watered-down or “elevated” dross we’re currently subjected to!

**** 4/5

Getaway is available on DVD and Digital now, from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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