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“Burn” Out-of-Control Thriller




Review by John Delia

How many times have you pulled into a gas station that has a convenience store and gone in for a soft drink or a snack? If you are anything like me, then very often, especially at night following a screening of a film. Well, the film Burn will make you think twice on which convenience store you’ll choose next time you’re out and about. Nicely directed and written the film Burn is the reason I asked the question. It’s a daunting little film that grabs you and won’t let go until the credits roll.

In an out of the way gas station Melinda (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) arrives for work. Before going in she finishes her cigarette and tells the guy at the gas pump not to smoke. She’s a consciences worker and accepts that if no one else will do it, she will, so it gets done. Like cleaning the bathrooms. Melinda’s co-worker, Sheila (Suki Waterhouse), is a bit nasty and always playing tricks on her because she’s kind of strange and an easy mark for Sheila’s meanness.

(L-R) Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Melinda and Suki Waterhouse as Sheila in the thriller BURN, a Momentum Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

When Billy (Josh Hutcherson), a weirdo, comes in and points a gun at the two workers, things get heated. Ordering the two around, Melinda makes some strange decisions that send Billy into overdrive. Director and scriptwriter Mike Gan makes his film somewhat realistic before turning it into a crime of mistakes, accidents and then it really turns vicious. The movie plays out at a fast pace and gets very tense, then scary and finally off the wall.

What makes the film very exceptional however, is the acting and the methodical way Mike Gan moves his story along. Much like a Steven King novel, the mistakes by the characters mount up until, and when backed into a corner there’s only one way out. It may be Gan’s first on the big screen feature film and it makes a great calling card.

(L-R) Suki Waterhouse as Sheila and Josh Hutcherson as Billy in the thriller BURN, a Momentum Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

As for the acting, Tilda Cobham-Hervey makes Melinda a psychologically strange person who is so bored with her life that she’ll do anything to get some excitement. Turning a work evening into a night of terror seems to be a good way to entertain herself and begins to get thrilled when the robber turns up. As she gets deeper into her head games, only bad things can happen and they do.

Josh Hutcherson makes an appearance as the antagonist Billy. Wielding a gun, he feels power, but finding himself in a situation where he may fail with the robbery, he becomes weak. Hutcherson handles the character well showing Billy as a first time thief thinking with two girls on duty, he chose the right convenience store to holdup.

Burn has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, language throughout, and a gory scene. It’s a very good indie shot on a modest budget, but delivers millions.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film if you like “out-of-control”. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Suki Waterhouse, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Harry Shum Jr. and Shiloh Fernandez
Directed and written by: Mike Gan
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains language, violence, gore
Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.
Opening Date: August 23, 2019
Distributed by: Momentum Pictures/Entertainment One
Released in: VOD, Digital HD

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