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Home | Film Review: Hurt (2008)

Film Review: Hurt (2008)


When Robert Coltrane suddenly dies, his wife (Melora Walters) and two kids (Johanna E. Braddy and Jackson Rathbone) can no longer afford their affluent lifestyle. So when Robert’s loner brother Darryl (William Mapother) offers lodging to the downsized family, they reluctantly accept — a fatal mistake. Their transition is shaken up by the arrival of a troubled foster child (Sofia Vassilieva), who sets into motion a string of horrifying events.


Written by: Eduardo Levy, James Martin, Barbara Stepansky, Alison Lea Bingeman
Directed by: Barbara Stepansky
Starring: Melora Walters, William Mapother, Johanna Braddy, Jackson Rathbone, Sofia Vassilieva

As the Coltrane (no relation to Sheriff Roscoe P., I presume) family tries to recover from the untimely car crash death of the family patriarch, Robert, they find that they must leave behind the privileged lifestyle they once knew of phones, motor cars, and a nice house, and move in with the late Robert’s reclusive brother, Darryl (but no other brother Darryl??) to his salvage yard/mechanic shop/desert shack, until the family estate can be settled and their lives can get back to semi-normality.

In the meantime, in addition to dealing with their grief and trying to adjust to the new way of life, they’re hit with yet one more kick to the tenders – a “troubled” foster child that Robert had pledged to take in before his death comes to live with the family, and faster than you can say “Maclackclack Culkin was the bomb in GOOD SON, yo”, a series of unexplainable red-herring-producing incidents begin to happen to the family…

Whenever someone releases a flick where you come to find the premise revolves around whether or not a child is EEE-VILL, or simply just misunderstood, the filmmakers automatically open up a huge Lament Configuration where all the detractors out there will hit the message boards and namedrop the obvious comparisons from everything from THE BAD SEED to 2009’s ORPHAN. Oddly enough, I am not one of those guys….yes, strange as it may seem, I will actually watch most movies with an open mind, which can really come in handy considering that some folks tell me I am an actual legitimate reviewer of horror movies.

That being said though, I have a very hard time classifying HURT as a horror movie. Sure, it’s got moments of suspense, a little flourish of violence here and there, and of course the “is she is or is she ain’t evil” 13 year-old girl. But when all is said and done, it feels more to me like a Lifetime Original Movie for Women that that channel seems to come up with once a week than anything really horrific – more of a suspense-type of flick.

So I guess that makes it more like the Diet Coke of suspense/thrillers, right? I’m not saying that the vibe it gave me swayed my judgment one way or the other (it didn’t), but that’s just how it felt for me. And I realize that yes, I’ve said this many times before, but this is yet another case where I felt that most of the cast rose above the material they had and carried things along more than they should have had to.

Melora Walters, with her girl next door beauty and sultry, husky voice reminded me big-time of Julie Benz, which in my book is never a bad thing. Always a pleasure to see Mr. Mapother on the screen – awesome actor that never fails to entertain.

Braddy and Rathbone as the teenagers coping with the loss of their father were both hit and miss for me…couldn’t get into either of them very well….not a good thing when I’m supposed to be sympathetic for these folks. The lovely young Sofia Vassilieva of TV’s MEDIUM fame won me over as the new edition foster child/bad-ish seed – she had just the right amount of innocence combined with bitchiness that one would hope for in a pivotal role such as that one. I do look forward to more from her in our beloved genre.

I wanted to like this flick, I really did – it had the right amount of slow-burn buildup and character development that hits the spot with me sometimes coupled with an interesting premise. Problem is, at the end of the day, I just didn’t enjoy myself nearly as much as I should have. Mainly, I think, because characters that we’re led to believe were intelligent suddenly did too many stupid things in a row, the big reveal I saw coming a mile away, and the final battle had an epically unrealistic feel to it when the rest of the movie had tried so hard to base itself in realism from the opening frame – way out of context from what preceded it, and it took me all the way out of the movie and never put me back in. Honestly, it’s not a bad movie though, and there is an audience out there for this flick. I’m just not that audience.

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