Review: River Wild

Adam Brody Delivers In A Remake No One Asked For But Everyone Should Be Happy We Got

Jo (Leighton Meester) needs to get away from the pressures of real life in River Wild. What better way than to go on a multi-day white water rafting excursion? Lucky enough for Jo her older brother Gray (Taran Killam) happens to be a river guide. Such a crazy coincidence. What Jo didn’t realize is that Trevor (Adam Brody) would also be coming on the trip. Trevor and Jo have a checkered history and she doesn’t want to be around him. She won’t let Trevor ruin her vibe though and off they go.

Accompanying Gray, Trevor, and Jo are Karissa (Olivia Swann) and Van (Eve Connolly) – two friends visiting the US from Europe. After a fun day of rafting, the group sets up camp. A night of drinking and bonding goes south when Van falls and hits her head on a rock. Jo, a doctor, quickly sees the severity of the situation and that Van needs immediate hospitalization. Something not easily found in the middle of the woods. With the nearest ranger station hours away on foot, the group sets back to the river racing to get Van the help she needs. A seemingly impossible task becomes even harder when not everyone has the same motive.

Ben Ketai directs River Wild as well as co-wrote the film with Mike Le. The film is a remake of The River Wild from the mid-90s. Ketai has typical stayed in the television realm with River Wild being only the second feature length film he’s directed. Ketai meshes beautiful sprawling shots of nature and its peaceful sounds with ominous music as the tension builds. The music is introduced, but never overshadows the sounds of nature, instead complementing them perfectly.

Brody absolutely steals the show. His portrayal of a troubled felon who is spiraling is incredibly believable. The rest of the cast has their moments, but Brody is consistently fantastic. Unfortunately, there are a few key scenes where decisions characters make are so outlandish it removes one from the film. River Wild clocks in at just under 90 minutes. Ketai manages to continually build the suspense throughout the runtime. The mix of the dangers of man and nature flow together and only adds to the tension. River Wild may not have been a remake that the masses were clamoring for, but Ketai & co deliver an entertaining thriller that is worth a watch.

River Wild is available now on Digital and Blu-Ray!