Have you ever heard someone say something they thought was incredibly clever, so much so that they wink at you and give you a little nudge afterwards, except it wasn’t clever at all? In fact, what that person said was utter nonsense and everyone else in the room is now a little bit worried the person might be coming down with something, or that in the span of the conversation this once normal person rapidly developed schizophrenia? That’s exactly the feeling you get from Andrew Currie’s thriller Barricade which features Eric McCormack as a father of two who takes his kids on a vacation to a secluded cabin (is there any other kind?) where strange events start to unfold.
The vacation he never took before his wife died becomes the winter vacation destination for Terrence (McCormack) and his kids. The rustic location, surrounded by trees and prone to snow flurries, gives Terrence the time to bond with his kids that his psychiatry practice never afforded him before, which meant his wife looked after the kids the majority of the time and thus he lacks the father-children relationship he wishes he had. The bonding time grinds to a halt, however, when all three of them develop bad coughs, begin hearing odd sounds, and see strange figures through the windows.
From there, the film devolves into a series of chaotic sequences which work individually as devices of horror but which make no sense when tied together as a whole, or at least not how it’s done here.
The “twist” ending, if we can call it that, is the kind that makes you want to turn to the director and, upon hearing him ask, “Do you get it?” ask him, “Do you?” In an effort to make the ending seem open and uncertain, even after offering up the disappointingly simple truth, we’re given once of those “or was it?” moments. When written with that ending in mind, that little last-minute hook makes sense within the context of the film, but here it doesn’t. If there was something more supernaturally horrible to this story, it casts into question a number of other things like why the mother would ever have wanted the kids and father to visit it. Did it just move in recently?
Then again, even taking the time to think through the film to come up with a question that simple feels like more thought than went into its creation, and that’s not okay. It’s a shame Eric McCormack got dragged into this because to his credit he gives a warmly comical take on the character before everything goes crazy, although he never once seems like a father. The dynamic created here is one of an adult baby-sitting two kids he’s met before, and even for a distant working dad, that’s the wrong vibe.
DVD Bonus Features
Barricade might be a worthless thriller, but the DVD has a number of production featurettes detailing the creation of the blizzard, converting the location into a film set, a tour of the cabin, and a piece on how McCormack is going against type by starring in a thriller.
"Barricade" is on sale September 25, 2012 and is rated PG13. Horror, Thriller. Directed by Andrew Currie. Written by Michaelbrent Collings. Starring Eric Mccormack.