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Film Review: Detour (2013)

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After a catastrophic mudslide traps Jackson Alder inside his SUV several feet beneath the earth he grapples for survival while the sands of time are swiftly running out against any chance in possible rescue.


Directed By: William Dickerson
Starring: Neil Hopkins, Brea Grant, John Forest

Detour is a claustrophobic expose that will grind on your nerves, suffocating your senses into terrifying oblivion. Audiences with phobias of confined places be forewarned. Dickerson’s production is every bit as restricting as our worst fears come to life.


The director’s use of the five stages of grief is showcased effectively. First denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance are each illustrated in varying degrees throughout the dilemma of one Jackson Alder (Neil Hopkins). We see each exploited unto the screen and instantly we as the viewer decide that in all likelihood we would act, react and behave in very similar fashion. We endure Jackon’s ordeal and subconsciously strive to emerge victoriously.

The lead role of Jackson is cast well. You may remember Neil from the hit series Lost, playing the heroin addict Liam. Hopkins’ wide range of emotion paces the film with expert precision. His sarcastic, dark quips are a welcome comedic relief from the impending, inevitable doom.



Many may argue a single set, mono-character production would be tedious and a little boring after time. The plot actually carries nicely. For variety the camera cuts occasionally unto some exposition to provide background into what sort of person Jackson really is. His dialogue is entertaining as he attempts to record his tragedy on his cell phone.

Sadly many film goers will find the urge to compare this production to Buried too easy. The film starring Ryan Reynolds was in fact released first. It really isn’t the same movie although there are similarities. The use of single character for the most part, dialogue and of course premise of being trapped under ground are one in the same. Yet Detour is a production that stands on its own. Many fans will be surprised to realize Detour was indeed in production long before Buried. It had not the ability to boast a Hollywood heavy hitter financing that Buried had and as a result was delayed in a couple circumstances.


Jackson’s optimism, raw determination and tenacity is inspiring despite obstacles of fire ants, caving windows, lack of oxygen, food and water as he strives to rise above adversity. Detour, suffice to say is a borderline feel good picture in this regard. We feel the lead’s remorse over a life misspent as he begins to come to terms with his untimely demise.
Some cynics may scoff at the final act while others will be delightfully surprised. Perhaps on your journey to traditional entertainment it may be best advised to consider a Detour.

Three tombstones out of five

Detour (2013)

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