February 9, 2013
Glenn Withrow, Hallie Todd, Ivy Withrow
Hallie Todd as Nancy
Thomas Wilson Brown as Richard
Karli Bialock as Ashley
Anna Goodwin as Margot
Larissa Hayden as Remi
Lilli Hendrickson as Justine
Erin McIntosh as Claire
Olivia Meyer as Madison
Hailee Naccarato as Holly
Jessica Pepeli as Natalie
Katie Simpson as Dawn
Brooklyn Tate as Mickey
Stockholm syndrom is always interesting foil for a horror movie. Ever since Patty Hearst ran around with the SLO robbing banks, presumably because after she was abducted by this domestic terrorist group she became entranced by mind control and became one of them, Stockholm Syndrom was front and center as a bonafide disorder that causes victims of kidnapping and abuse fall in love with their aggressors.
When a young woman is abruptly abducted from right under her parent’s noses while the family is camping by a river, she is dragged through the woods and hurled into a cupboard on the attacker’s boat. The action then cuts to a teen intervention program in progress, focusing on teen girls who’s lives have been negatively impacted by their online addictions. Several of the girls went from A students to struggling for Ds because their online life takes them too often away from homework. Others caused accidents on the roadways due to texting, and the rest are also victims of the surreal life that existing primarily online can bring. The program, then, is designed to get these girls away from technology and on a river boat where they will be forced to realize that direct human interaction is indeed possible. When the boat has engine trouble the girls are hunted down by the same man who abducted the girl in the opening scenes, but this time he has an accomplice.
The Mooring is an interesting film to get through as it alternates between exciting and boring multiple times throughout the runtime. The storyline is good and the rationale for a boatload of teen girls being out alone works well enough, but occasionally the chatter gets a little grating… and then suddenly it doesn’t. The characters are well developed, and thankfully they are not all wrought with intense psychological problems that add incessant melodrama to the action, but somehow there are still areas where the film drags a bit.
One element of The Mooring that is quite welcome is the fact that these girls, city girls through and through, are not 100% helpless and crying as they are being tracked down by a psycho killer with a rifle. The attempts to escape and survive the onslaught are realistic though – no Nancy Thompson-like trap setting or Kill Bill ninja moves here, and there is certainly a lot of running away and screaming, but the quest for survival is actually believeable and consistent with what thinking and capabable young women may actually do when faced by a hunter set on thier distruction. Very welcome indeed… refreshing really to see real terror that just might transpire should this scenario actually transpire.
The killing in this film is absolutely relentless, and generally takes place without much warning. The tactic is pretty unnerving, and like the behavior of the girls, seems consistent with what might actually happen in this kind of situation. Some psychotic killer with a Stockholm Syndrom girl with bad teeth at his side is not going to pontificate as he prepares a kill I would imagine, nor would he likely crack jokes or engage in some other stereotypical horror behavior… if he’s there to terrorize and kill, then he would simply terrorize and kill. End of story. The result of this approach is a film that is pretty damn scary, in an uncomfortable kind of way. At least when Jason or Michael are chasing a panty-clad lovely through the forest the audience knows what to expect, but what is some random psycho going to do? Whatever it is, death will follow.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable thing about this film is how it inspires thoughts about what could possibly happen when that internal warning signal goes off. There are many times when all of us walk out to our cars at night wondering if someone is lurking about, or come across an individual or group of individuals on the street that make us uncomfortable. In The Mooring the girls are camping on the river bank when another boat moores close by, occupied by obvious trash people with strange behavior. It would cross one’s mind that these folks may cause trouble, and in this case they indeed do. This film is scary like the YouTube video showing a group of hoodlums randomly punching a bystander in the face and knocking his face into the curb is scary – random violence by people with nothing keeping them from acting out their most base tendencies. The world is becoming a scary place of late with entire groups of people branching out to harm others with no regard for the rule of law, and The Mooring shows one possible example of what this might look like in practice.
The bottom line is that The Mooring is a good film, and a scary film, with good character development and a lot of shock value and intensity going for it. If it weren’t for the various points where the interest factor drops off before resuming, the rating would be much higher than it is… but those things do exist and therefore the film rates about middle of the road with 3 out of 5. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out of your way to watch this one, just a full disclosure that there will be moments when you question your decision.