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“SURVIVE THE NIGHT” Good Character Depiction

 

Review by John Delia

This home invasion crime film starts out with a good plot, but gets a bit too familiar as it delves into the lives of a doctor’s family who get caught up in a life and death situation. Although some of the character depiction are pretty good and one especially spot on, the story is way below actor Bruce Willis’s pay grade. If you can’t overlook a couple of out “impossible” scenes however, the Survive the Night title may be your reaction as well.

A young doctor Rich Clark (Chad Michael Murray) is forced to move back home in with his parents and take a job at a local clinic following a botched operation he performed. He has his wife Jan (Lynda Hull) and his teenage daughter Riley (Riley Wolfe Rach) with him and are welcomed by his father Frank (Bruce Willis) and his mother Rachel (Jessica Abrams). It’s not an easy thing to move home and start all over again, but Rich accepts his inner grief and goes to work for a local medical center.

Chad Michael Murray as Rich Clark in SURVIVE THE NIGHT from Lionsgate

On this day of moving in and after all is settled. two violent men, brothers Matty (Tyler Jon Olson) and Jamie Granger (Shea Buckner), pull into a parking lot and brag about robbery of a drug dealer and killing him. They count their take and then take off intending to cross over into Mexico and live the time of their lives. At a gas station Jamie goes in and still revved up from the job they pulled off, decides to rob the convenience store. Hearing the gun shots Matty runs into the store and gets wounded by the clerk. In an attempt to get the wound check they go to the med center where they see Rich is on duty.

Shea Buckner as Jamie in SURVIVE THE NIGHT from Lionsgate

Thus begins a day that leads to Jamie and Matty following Rich to his father’s house for medical attention only to take the whole family hostage. Director Matt Eskandari (Trauma Center) gives the film a quick start then levels off to the drama taking place at the Frank’s family home in a wooded area outside their small town. Giving a lot of screen time to Chad Michael Murray’s character, the young doctor who lost everything in a law suit for medical negligence, Eskandari builds the story around the doc and his past failure as he tries to defuse the hostage crisis in his father’s home.

However, the plot is not new and the story gets very predictable and that’s what you don’t want early on in a thriller. He tries to push the envelope a couple of times to add decent thrills, but it’s no more than a weak attempt to try and get Willis more screen time. The film never jells enough and to add Willis’s side story feels mostly gratuitous for the promotion of the film rather than an exciting plot point.

Bruce Willis as Frank and Lynda Hull as Jan in SURVIVE THE NIGHT from Lionsgate

As far as the bad boys however, Shea Buckner really puts on a good show as the crazed killer who take lives if they even look at him the wrong way. It’s a good role for him and possibly the only saving grace of the movie. His past performances were not a lot to write home about, but here it’s a different story and has been cast perfectly.

BONUS FEATURES:

“The Making of Survive the Night” the director Matt Eskandari and the central cast talks about the film.
“Director and Cast Interviews” Include Matt Eskandari, Chad Michael Murray, Lydia Hull, Jessica Abrams, Shea Buckner, and Tyler Jon Olson,

Survive the Night has been rated R by the MPAA for violence, bloody images, some brutality and language throughout.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An ok film with a lot of action (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Bruce Willis, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Buckner, Tyler Jon Olson, Lynda Hull, Riley Wolfe Rach, Jessica Abrams
Directed by: Matt Eskandari
Written by: Doug Wolfe
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for violence, bloody images and language throughout
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Video Release Date: July 21, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: May 22, 2020
Language: English (changeable to Spanish)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Visual: Widescreen 1080p, Aspect Ratio 2.00:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Released on: Blu-ray, DVD and Digital

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