Saturday, June 11, 2022

#2,767. Meander (2020) - 2021 Horror Movies


As several critics have pointed out, writer / director Mathieu Turi’s Meander has quite a bit in common with 1997’s Cube. But where that earlier movie focused more on its unusual setting than its characters, this 2020 film strikes a nice balance between the two.

Following a chance encounter with a possible serial killer (Peter Franzén), grieving mother Lisa (Gaia Weiss) wakes up to find herself trapped in a strange tunnel system packed with booby traps. What’s more, there’s a timer attached to her wrist, which is counting down from 10 minutes. With no idea where she is, who put her there, or what will happen when those 10 minutes elapse, Lisa starts crawling through the dark, treacherous tunnels, determined to do whatever it takes to survive this dangerous predicament.

Like the characters in Cube, Lisa (played superbly by Weiss) is thrust into a life-or-death situation against her will, and must act quickly - using both her brains and her brawn - if she’s to have any chance of making it out alive. Her journey through these tunnels takes up the majority of the film’s runtime, and it’s to director Turi’s credit that he keeps the tension at a fever pitch throughout; like Lisa, we don’t know what she will encounter around each bend, what new danger will be waiting for her as she moves through this bizarre maze. She eventually discovers that she is not alone, though those with her offer no help (one fellow traveler even chases her). And in a very clever sequence (a first-person flashback to her earlier encounter with the killer), Turi even reveals who (or what) it was that put Lisa in this situation.

Yet as cool as the tunnels and their various hazards are, it’s Lisa who remains front and center throughout; her emotional state, due to the loss of her daughter (a tragedy she feels wholly responsible for) is often at odds with her survival instinct (when we first meet Lisa, she is contemplating suicide), and watching her self-doubt and despair slowly give way to confidence and self-preservation is every bit as rewarding as the movie’s more visceral thrills.

I don’t want to go any further with this; Meander is a movie that earns its shocks and surprises, and I wholeheartedly recommend you check it out. A tense, action-packed sci-fi / horror / thriller that also works on a dramatic level, Meander absolutely blew me away!
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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