Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

‘Stash House’ opens with a guy going to a local parish, entering a confessional, giving the priest some money before putting a gun to his own head and painting the walls behind him.  That scene has something to do with this movie, what… I’m not sure, even though I’m pretty certain they kind of explained it to us.  I just thought it was odd that this cat walked into what looked like Baptist church that had a priest and a confessional. 

Moving along we see a vet smoothing out the damaged foot of a bunny rabbit, this vet named Emma Nash as being played by Brianna Evigan who at this point in her career is probably best known for being one of the more physically fit actresses in the business.  If nothing else, Brianna takes damn good care of herself.  Anyway as Emma fixes the bunny, a weird guy is sneaking up on her.  We know already that it’s probably her boyfriend or her husband or somebody so I don’t know why director Eduardo Rodriguez went through all this trouble to make it seem like she’s in danger when the only thing this proved was that Emma’s husband David (Sean Faris) is a dick.  Who sneaks up on people in this day and age and grabs them from behind?  Unless you want to kill them or something?

David has a surprise for Emma, a house that the banker got for a steal as a foreclosure.  But this just isn’t any kind of house but a house with an awesome security system, bulletproof glass and a panic button  that activates sliding metal doors.  Sweet.  Does that sound like a foreclosure you’d want to take over?  I know I wouldn’t.  But it’s all good because they even got a visit from a concerned local security guard (John Huerta) welcoming the Nash’s to the neighborhood.  I hate to profile here, but this guy looks really untrustworthy. 

First things first, gotta christen the crib.  Break it in.  Know what I’m saying?  Thing is while David was slamming Emma against the wall, they noticed it was hollow and contained what looked to be a good 100 million dollars worth of heroin.  A Stash if you

will.  Oh snap!  Time to get out of there.  Too bad that suspicious looking security guard was out there waiting for them, and soon his partner shows up, a 6’5” 250 pound, very bored Norwegian looking dude who looks like he’s seen better days going by the name of Spector (Dolph Lundgren). 

In an unlikely set of events the Nash’s escape certain death and duck away into the safety of this safe house, but Spector and Mr. Security Guard are right outside, with a strong desire to kill somebody.  Why not just give them what they want?  But what if they don’t want the smack, then what?   Maybe make a run for it, but that probably won’t work either even though they did try.  Maybe use a cell phone and call for help?  They never did this.  They might’ve explained why these two well-to-do twenty-somethings didn’t have a working cell phone between them, but I missed that part.

So our dilemma is what do these two killers want that’s in the house that our couple aren’t aware of, and how in the world are they going to escape this mess.  A third question which can be asked is ‘will you care?’  That, my friends, is the dilemma.

This is the second of the five ‘After Dark Action’ films I’ve seen, the first being the reasonably entertaining ‘Transit’ and let me tell you that I’m pulling for all of these films to succeed like I assume ‘After Dark Horror’ was a success because I’m of the firm belief that we cannot get enough B-Grade action movies.  Bring them on!  That being said… we have to admit that ‘Stash House’ was slightly lacking.  We dig the economy of the concept.  One basic location, bad guys outside, scaredy cats inside, bad guys need to get in to get something, and we know that they will eventually get in, and the frightened bitches need to get out.  And by ‘frightened bitch’ we’re basically referring to Sean Faris’ character who tended to cry a lot, much more than Briana Evigan’s.  The basic concept is solid, if not a bit well worn since David Fincher and them did this same thing much better in ‘Panic Room’ a decade ago which wasn’t all that great either. 

A few of the problems that surfaced, that we could see, was for one director Rodriguez wasn’t able to squeeze out nearly enough action or tension from the enclosed locations.  I wouldn’t say the movie was boring but I would call it fairly static, relying more on the reactions of the characters of the situations and the relationships of the characters between each other than pure action.  This didn’t work all that well, and this is the second problem we saw, and this was because the characters reactions to certain things that were going on was nothing if not erratic, and also due to the fact that the characters didn’t seem to get along all that well.  We expected the heavies to butt heads, but while Faris and Evigan are great looking people who look good standing next to each other, but they had almost no real chemistry together.   There was a little tension thrown in between the couple, which in all honesty did little to further story, but it did fit the relationship that I was seeing on screen between the two much better.  And I’m not used to Dolph sleepwalking through a performance, but he did it here.

Since the movie wasn’t moving all that quickly, the audience had the misfortune on focusing more on the silly things such as the unavailable cell phones, the folly of the various escape plans, the neighbors that can obviously sleep through ANYTHING, or the awesome surveillance system that our couple probably could’ve used to easily slip away from the killers if they gave it just a little bit of thought.  Then this static movie tried to jam in as many thrills as they could in the last ten minutes which was better, but very messy and ultimately nonsensical. 

‘Stash House’ wasn’t awful but it was lackluster.  But don’t be deterred or frustrated After Dark Executives… keep them coming. 

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