'Get Gone': Film Review

Get Gone - Publicity Still 1 - H 2020
Cleopatra Entertainment
Even the reliably good Shaye can't rescue this amateurish, overly derivative effort.

Horror movie icon Lin Shaye stars in Michael Thomas Daniel's chiller about a homicidal backwoods family.

Not even the presence of modern horror movie icon Lin Shaye can redeem the tired tropes on display in Michael Thomas Daniel's directorial debut. Playing the matriarch of a backwoods family that includes two murderous, facially deformed sons (played by Nicolas Cage's son and nephew, no less), Shaye gives it her all like the trouper she is. But she's fighting a losing battle when it comes to Get Gone, a Texas Chain Saw Massacre-wannabe that will quickly live up to its title.

The film is set in Whiskey Flats, Oregon, although it's not likely to inspire much tourism to the area. It's there that a group of young people who work for an internet show debunking urban legends and other hoaxes have gathered in the woods for a "team-building" retreat. At least, that seems to be what's going on, because writer-director Daniel's screenplay is stronger on atmosphere than narrative coherence.

Anyway, it seems that the rural area has been ravaged by years of rapacious fracking by a company that cares little for the environmental damage it causes. The toll has been been particularly hard on the Maxwell clan, who have been illegally squatting in the area for decades. Dan Maxwell (Robert Miano, Firestarter), a former forest ranger, and his wife, referred to only as "Mama" (Shaye), seem to have fared reasonably well, at least physically, but their grown sons Patton (Weston Cage Coppola) and Apple (Bailey Coppola) have developed skin pigment problems that make them look like they're in an advanced stage of vitiligo. This has naturally made them both more than a little cranky, not to mention homicidal. And in the case of Apple, it leads to him wearing the sort of mask that would be promptly stocked by Halloween stores if this film actually became popular.

Things come to a head when the company attempts to finally kick the Maxwells off the land. Among those caught in the middle are the millennial hoax busters, led by the perky Grant (Bradley Stryker) and Connie (Caitlyn Stryker) and including a truly annoying guide (Adam Bitterman, making his character even more obnoxious than necessary), and a local forest ranger (Rico E. Anderson) who fails in his attempts to make the Maxwells leave their home peacefully.

Cue the carnage as the Maxwell sons proceed to kill anyone who gets in their way, although for a horror movie, Get Gone proves surprisingly decorous in its relative lack of explicit violence and gore. That would be fine if the pic provided tension of a more subtle variety, but the only thing it delivers is unrelenting tedium. Every aspect of the production proves so amateurishly realized that it begins to feel a put-on, although the humor seems to be strictly unintentional.

Many of the performances are embarrassing, with the two Coppolas apparently intent on outdoing their relative Nicolas when it comes to wildly overacting in truly bad movies. Anderson, who seems to be channeling the late Duane Jones in Night of the Living Dead, delivers a solid enough turn, and Miano is enough of a veteran not to embarrass herself. It's only Shaye, however, who brings any life to the proceedings, investing her sociopathic matriarch with an unsettling combination of maternal love and raging anger. Her lengthy monologue about flies, of all things, is the most memorable element of the film, which even the most rabid genre fans would be wise to avoid. 

Production companies: Future Proof Films, Sweet Nelly Productions
Distributor: Cleopatra Entertainment
Cast: Lin Shaye, Weston Cage Coppola, Robert Miano, Bradley Stryker, Rico E. Anderson, Bailey Coppola, Cory Crouser
Director-screenwriter: Michael Thomas Daniel
Producers: Michael Thomas Daniel, Mark David, DJ Dodd
Executive producers: Michael Cowan, Emanuele Moretti, Joseph Shelley
Director of photography: Mark David
Editor: Erich Demerath
Composer: Patrick Wilson
Casting: Michael Thomas Daniel

91 minutes