Directed by Richard Gray
Written by Richard Gray, Michelle Davis-Gray, Ross McQueen, Robert Cross
Starring: Briana Evigan, Julianna Guill, Joseph Cross, Rebecca Da Costa, Rafi Gavron, Ethan Peck, Alex Meraz
Mine Games, for the most part, is an unremarkable horror film that is desperately trying to be better. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination and there even some moments that actually threaten to be good. Unfortunately, while there’s a good idea and a surprisingly strong cast, it’s ultimately wasted by a lackluster script.
The film begins with a group of friends driving out to a remote cabin (naturally). During their stay they explore an abandoned mine but they quickly find some clues inside giving hints that something sinister is at work. One of them quickly has a nervous breakdown and begins to cryptically tell them that if they don’t leave they’re all going to die. However, since this is a horror movie and leaving would be the smart thing to do, that doesn’t happen. Instead, the more they try to prevent their deaths and the more clues they find predicting them, the worse things get.
The cast for Mine Games is actually fairly impressive given the film’s budget. Included are horror veterans Briana Evigan (Sorority Row) and Julianna Guill (Friday the 13th) who both give solid performances. Also included is Joseph Cross whose credits include Lincoln, Untraceable and Jack Frost (the Michael Keaton film, not the one with the killer snowman). Interestingly enough, Cross was also in an early Smallville episode where he plays a teenager who coincidentally had the ability to see people’s deaths. The cast as a whole actually does a pretty good job and there isn’t anybody here that outright embarrasses themselves, which is more than can be said for most other cabin movies.
The film’s decent idea and cast however, are severely hindered by the execution of the script (or lack thereof). The actors do the best with what there given but for most of them that’s not saying too much. Of the seven principal characters, maybe two of them are given any kind of personality. One of them being the “funny guy” that you’ll likely wish will die first and the other being a guy suffering from schizophrenia (which the film reminds us of on a pretty regular basis). Most of them are so forgettable, they might as well have gone the Hot Shots route and called them all “Deadmeat.” Cabin in the Woods may have been a satire but it also did a good job of giving it’s characters some depth beyond the stereotypes they happened to fit into. With Mine Games though, they don’t even really bother with the stereotypes. Maybe it’s not fair to compare this movie to something written by Joss Whedon but now that Cabin in the Woods has been released, people are starting to expect more from this genre.
There’s some clever moments and some attempts at originality but they’re few and far in between. Despite a good effort from the cast, the predictable script keeps Mine Games from being little more than just decent and forgettable. Admittedly this film wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected but overall it comes off as a missed opportunity.