For those of you planning to take a vacation this summer, be cautious. Here are six ways it could go bad… Just sayin.
Puerto Vallarta can be a lovely place to visit, and Michelle’s trip starts off nice enough in Lisa Brackmann’s Getaway, but after her cell phone is stolen and her hotel room broken in to she begins to sour on her vacation and has to sweat the margaritas out of her system in order to keep her instincts and reflexes sharp enough to help her live to join the rat-race another day. Otherwise, she could end up like the beautiful American corpse who makes life difficult for Inspector Hector Diaz in -
A Death in Mexico by Jonathan Woods. Or perhaps you are a Mexican policeman dealing with the political ramifications of a gringa’s murder in your town. What a head-ache. Tourists - you can’t live with em, and you can’t kill em. Or, perhaps… Woods’ sultry slice of ex-pat sex and death hits below the border and will tempt you to take a getaway to romantic old Mexico one moment and make your own back yard awfully appealing the next.
Or perhaps you’ve got access to a boat? Well, in The Cold Light of Day a family’s Spanish sailing trip is no bueno after they’re all kidnapped. Bummer, huh? Now the shadowy folks responsible for ruining the summer are harassing Will about a briefcase. Maguffin, schmaguffin. I’m intrigued mostly ‘cause this one is from director Mabrouk El Mechri who gave us the delightfully odd chewable-Meta-vitamin JCVD featuring an oddly delightful central turn from (get ready) Jean Claude Van Dam. You wanna nuther good boating trip to hell movie? How 'bout Philip Noyce's Dead Calm or Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water. Try 'em.
With Wish You Were Here actor Kieran Darcy Smith makes his feature directorial debut a tale of two Australian couples on vacation in South-East Asia who return home a man short. The disappearance of one of their company kinda harshes the collective buzz and as the secrets surrounding the event and the relationships are revealed… nobody’s gonna be happy. How do I know? Let's just say that I trust those cats at Blue-Tongue Films who brought us The Square and Animal Kingdom to continue their track record of no-punches-pulled heartbreaking crime films.
Theme Parks are popular vacation destinations for… terrorists. I know, superficially, Alpha does sound a bit like the fictitious Die Hard-on-a-rollercoaster project Matterhorn that Vincent Chase lost to Colin Farrell on the first season of Entourage, but in reality, it’s much better… as long as you’re not Jad Bell, the dude whose got to deal with the whole escalating (waaay escalating) dirty bomb situation, that is. Greg Rucka’s cinematic prose style will propel the wise (and comfortable) stay-cationer through this one.
Finally for those who can’t afford to take time off of work or leave town, you’re not alone. Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is the story of a future working Joe (or Doug) who, just like you, needs a vacation, but can’t afford to actually go anywhere. So he does the next best thing – purchases some designer memories of one. Oh yeah, in the future, all the kids are doing it. Of course, when monkeying around with your brain, you can’t really expect things to be seamless. After submitting to the fantasy injection, Doug (Colin Farrell) wakes up a wanted man by the uh Dream Police and while it may all be just a Cheap Trick, it might be real. Real enough to kill him. Sound familiar? If not, shame on you, go check out Total Recall Paul Verhoeven’s day-glo fun and cheesy earlier adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. As for Wiseman – have there really been four Underworld movies? Goodness.
What are your favorite bad vacation stories not involving Griswolds?
Jedidiah Ayres writes fiction and keeps the blog Hardboiled Wonderland.
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