Movies The Hike and Run, Hide, Die have a message for women – for fuck’s sake, don’t try to get over the death of your man by having a girls’ weekend in the woods. So which one gets the message across better?
THE HIKE (2011)
More a rape/revenge film than a horror movie, The Hike is sort of like I Spit on Your Grave meets Deliverance. But things begin kind of The Descent – on dry land – as a group of women drives to the country for some hiking and camping. Curious, considering Shauna Macdonald, star of The Descent films, has a cameo in The Hike.
Admittedly, the film starts slow, with a lot of girl talk about lady problems, like abusive boyfriends and dead boyfriends. Then the girls catch sight of an angry (and fucking hot) looking dude getting into an argument with a woman at his campsite. They mind their business and keep walking.
Next, the girls meet three cute guys doing some mountain climbing in the woods. They all hang out, have another, more intense encounter with the hot angry dude, and then go skinny dipping! The guys look great wet, and there’s some full-frontal!
But the fun is interrupted when one of the girls disappears. The group goes looking for her…by splitting up! And that’s when the shit hits the fan.
It gets pretty brutal, in an oddly tame way, which was a relief. I feared the abuse was going to go to places I didn’t want to see, forcing me to turn the film off. That would have sucked, because several twists had me hooked right up to the end, and the final girl rules.
RUN, HIDE, DIE (2012)
Weird to title a movie Run, Hide, Die when no one gets a chance to run or hide. But since this movie gets chronically bashed in reviews for lacking any transition, having horrible editing, and making no sense, I’m going to start things off fair. I learned that 28 minutes were hacked out of this now 75-minute film before release so it would get to the horror sooner (it was also originally titled The Anniversary).
Okay, now I can bash it. 28 minutes were cut out, sure. But perhaps the wrong 28 minutes. Let me explain.
A year after a young woman came home to find her husband dead, she gathers her girlfriends together for a getaway at a cabin in the woods. Rather than 28 minutes of buildup to the terror that awaits these girls, we get about that amount of time of the girls talking about sex, flirting with lesbianism, making shit and fart jokes, having food fights, sitting by a fire, and filming themselves helping one of the girls – who is an actress – rehearse lines for a horror movie.
Dead or Alive in…Run, Hide, Die!
Finally, one girl goes to take a piss and a creepy doll drops on the floor outside the bathroom door. Not sure if the doll holds more significance in the extra 28 minutes, but in this cut, it makes a mere cameo appearance, because we never see it again.
Here’s where that pesky lack of transition comes in. The girls go to sleep. A couple of the girls are inexplicably sleeping in a tent outside. Someone hears a noise. Girls start to scream. One gets stabbed in the hand through a mattress. Another hides in a dark corner to avoid the threat.
And suddenly, every single girl is tied up gagged in one bedroom together. I seriously thought my finicky attention span had inadvertently caused me to slip into Dan time and lose about ten minutes of movie time, which is why I read reviews online. Nope, wasn’t me. Everyone experienced the same exact thing.
At this point in the film, the truth unfolds and the identity of the baddie is revealed, if you’re lucky enough to hear any of it over about fifteen minutes of all the girls whimpering through the tape covering their mouths. Their captor has a knife and is snarling about why they are being tortured. There’s a flashback to the main girl and her husband getting some sort of test results. If I’m not mistaken, I think the script is alluding to the fact that one of them contracted HIV.
Anyway, after the mind-numbing whimpers and screams and some torture, there’s one unexpected kill, which would have been a cool twist if the rest of the film mattered. The girls manage to break free of their bonds…and all but one die anyway. A final scene offers a flash of a photo that we are supposed to immediately process in our heads as an explanation as to how there can possibly be one last kill.
Hey, I have no one to blame but myself. TWO of my friends warned me to avoid this film at all costs, which is Dan speak for “I simply have to see this movie.” Whatever this sickness is I have, it makes me WANT to see the extra 28 minutes. I need to know. I need to know if the film ever made sense. I need closure, dammit.