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Review: ‘Trespass’

“If it weren't for Cage and Kidman, this would have gone straight-to-video. It still should have. Trespass is tres passé.”

And now, with your permission, I’d like to present my impersonation of the new hostage thriller Trespass, starring Academy Award-winners Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman.

*Ahem*

“WHAT’S IN THE SAFE?!”
“DON’T OPEN THE SAFE!”
“THE DIAMONDS ARE IN THE SAFE!”
“DON’T OPEN THE SAFE!”
“OPEN THE SAFE!”
“I’LL NEVER OPEN THE SAFE!”
“OPEN THE SAFE OR I’LL KILL YOUR WIFE!”
“IF I OPEN THE SAFE YOU’LL KILL MY WIFE!”
“MY MOM NEEDS A NEW KIDNEY!”
“AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”
“AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”
“AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”
“AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”
“AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”
“I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT CHARACTER I AM ANYMORE AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!”

SERIOUSLY… Oh, sorry, caps lock. But seriously, everyone yells back and forth so much in this painful, amateurish movie that it makes you want to flick the lights on and off just to make them stop. Trespass tries to hide its flimsy plot – aw, screw it, let’s put “plot” in quotation marks – by constantly depicting its cast in a state of noisy frustration. It would be exhausting if it weren’t so dull.
 


Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman star as a rich, dull couple with a teenaged, dull daughter played by Liana Liberato. Cage is a workaholic, Kidman feels neglected, and Liberato hates them because they won’t let her go to a party. That’s all we get before their palatial home is invaded by masked thugs who want Cage to open his safe. But Cage won’t open his safe. Why won’t Cage open his safe?

Who cares? We don’t know who these people are; or what’s worse, maybe we do, and they really are just note cards with a single character trait masquerading as human beings. What follows is a showdown between the victims and their attackers, played by the likes of Dash Mihok, Ben Mendelsohn and Cam Gigandet. There are a series of “twists” (there’s the quotation marks again), which aren’t so much twists as information the filmmakers decided withhold from the audience until it feels like it might be surprising. Maybe "surprising" should be in quotation marks too.
 


Trespass does not deserve a big budget or even a big director, maligned though he often is, like Joel Schumacher. It’s a low budget genre exercise trumped up like a legitimate Hollywood release. Trespass would have been feasible on a $100,000 budget, and mildly entertaining as a softcore exploitation Skinemax thriller circa 1996, perhaps starring C. Thomas Howell and Joan Severance (at least then we’d have seen something "titillating"), but it collapses under the weight of an over-talented cast and a sometimes talented director, all of whom are desperately trying to make the material work even though it feels like a lost cause. Literally everyone on this production has turned in fabulous work before, and probably will again, but for whatever reason their abilities somehow cancel each other out to create Trespass, a mysterious singularity of mediocrity and occasionally laugh-out-loud badness.

Trespass is released this Friday in theaters and on Video on Demand, an observation that has little meaning for an independent horror movie or foreign film release, but with a cast and crew of this caliber it just translates to “If It Weren't for Cage and Kidman, This Would Have Gone Straight-to-Video.” It still should have. Trespass is tres passé.
 

CRAVEONLINE RATING: 2.5/10