Saturday, November 7, 2020

Blue Ridge: Movie Review

Uninteresting, low quality murder mystery.
Blue Ridge is a murder-of-the-week, made-for-TV quality movie. A woman has been murdered, but we don’t know all that much about her and so the interest in solving the crime is severely lacking. Pretty much everybody in town is a suspect because apparently it’s a town full of bad guys, but none of their stories are interesting either.   2020

Directed by: Brent Christy

Screenplay by: Caleb G. Brown, Shea Sizemore

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Sarah Lancaster, Graham Greene

It’s an action, thriller, crime drama and the most noticeable issue off the bat is that none of those genres are handled well. The action takes place at the beginning and then only one more scene later on, so if you’re an action fan, this isn’t it. The thriller aspect is missing since none of the suspects are interesting, or suspenseful.

This movie marks the first time I have seen Johnathon Schaech on my screen in over 20 years, so that was the big selling point for me. He’s the lead character and there are a few times when he smiles that the former teen heartthrob is still there. He plays Sheriff Justin Wise but he doesn’t smile much, because he’s the gruff Sheriff that nobody likes. It’s an awful character trope which I wish filmmakers would stop using. The Sheriff is new in town, moving closer to his ex-wife and daughter in Blue Ridge, a small fictional town in the Blue Ridge mountain range in the Appalachians. My best guess is Georgia, but only because it was partly filmed there.

The drama aspect is decent. The Sheriff is hoping to reconnect with his ex-wife and his relationship with his daughter is cute and sweet. I was also hoping that town divisions over an old family feud would serve to be really interesting but it’s not. That set-up was just to show how the town is made up of two big mobs of bad guys, all very heavily armed. These two families (which the murdered woman is the daughter of one) have been threatening to kill each other for years, and yet they weren’t a suspect until half-way through the movie.

The Sheriff isn’t supposed to be inept (because he’s really good at karate-chopping bad guys) but it’s so poorly run. Like they have no station so they have to run their investigation at the local diner where they openly discuss the case in public and share their evidence. When all your suspects are local people, you probably shouldn’t clue them in to how you’re doing. And the junior officer is an imbecile. He’s probably supposed to be comic relief but not funny.

I liked the scenery of Blue Ridge, and I’m generally a big fan of small mountain town murder mysteries, but this town just isn’t appealing. It’s full of bad guys who all want to murder each other, like who would want to live there?

The film offers nothing more than a little bit of action in a very uninteresting murder mystery. Perhaps try one of these small town murder mysteries instead:

  Blow the Man Down (2019) - Thriller of crime and family - funny, captivating, beguiling.
  Wind River (2017) - Thoughtful, compelling and distressing.
  The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) - Idiosyncratic comedy with the makings of a thriller/horror and a character study.