I'm a big fan of Dominic Purcell. He's done solid work in the past. From his role on 'Prison Break,' to his parts in 'Killer Elite' and the remake of 'Straw Dogs,' Purcell has shown he has some decent acting chops to go with his muscular and intimidating physique. It's only fitting, given his physical appearance, that Purcell be cast in a slasher movie where he plays the villain. Now, I'm a sucker for these slasher-thrillers for the most part, but sometimes, everything about the film fails. Unfortunately for 'Escapee,' that's what has happened here.
Not only does the movie suffer from reprehensible acting, piss-poor dialogue, and a severe lack of suspense, but it's heavily encrusted with the worst cliches in the genre, and they never let up. The end result is a slow, predictable, and un-suspenseful waste of time. Maybe it's because this is director Campion Murphy's first attempt at a feature film, or maybe it's the lack of passion and talent surrounding this film, but this could have been executed better to produce a movie with genuine thrills.
The escapee in question is named Harmon Porter, who goes by Jaxon (Purcell), who has been in prison for several years for murdering a woman. For some reason, Jaxon is being transported to a psychiatric hospital from his former prison. It just so happens that at the same time of his transfer, a group of students are taking a tour of the psychiatric facility. You'd think that when a convict is being transferred, the powers that be would secure the room the criminal is being walked through, but that didn't seem to cross the filmmaker's minds. Instead, the students are told to back up and not make eye contact with this harsh killer.
But who could resist those dreamy Purcell eyes? Abby (Christine Evangelista) sure couldn't, and dear reader, she looks him straight in the peepers, causing Jaxon to free himself from his guards and bum-rush Abby to the ground, telling her, "You're mine", before the guards gather him up and escort him inside. If that were me, my week would have been ruined, but to Abby, she only seems a little frazzled by the whole encounter and decides to hang out with her friends, do some studying and lead a normal, happy life. However, this unfavorable encounter with Jaxon is about to go from bad to horrific as Jaxon somehow manages to escape and head out to find Abby and kill her as he leaves a trail of bodies on his quest.
The basic premise sounds good on paper, but every aspect of the film falls flat. It would be nice to have a villain with a bit of depth and story, but here, we only get a soulless killer who ambles around trying to off a young girl. The dialogue is devoid of any coherent sentences. With each hopeless line, you secretly want the characters to meet their untimely doom.
The death scenes are all taken from other slasher films and nothing seems new here. Jaxon the killer is even forgettable and not frightening whatsoever, making this thriller less than thrilling. Sure, Purcell was trying to do a decent job with what he was given, but he could only go so far. The climatic reveal at the end could be seen from miles away, ultimately making me wish I had escaped this film in the first few minutes.
'Escapee' comes with a low-lit 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image itself is very clean and crisp. It has a glossy texture to it and almost never seems real. Most of the scenes take place in the evening, leaving the image with low light and several different black levels that switch from inky to a lighter color. The detail, especially in the brighter scenes, most interior shots, look very good where we can easily define wrinkles and facial hair.
The colors do their best in the darker lit scenes to pop, and they tend to shine in the better lit shots of the film. Although this isn't a very colorful film by any means. There was no evidence of banding or motion blur here. This is a decent video presentation for what it is.
This releases comes with a very good lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is crystal clear and is always easy to understand, even if the dialogue itself is awful. The sound effects and ambient noises are handled very well and come across the surrounds nicely and often. I especially enjoyed the boastful helicopter blades spinning overhead and the sound effects of a thunderstorm.
The score does a good job of keeping the mood going without ever drowning out the dialogue or effects. The directionality here was delightful and nothing seemed to rattle or have any evidence of cracks or hissing. This audio presentation was the best part of the disc and film.
'Escapee' is not a good film. It's an empty box with no original story, bad acting, and horrific dialogue. There is no real point to the movie and not enough blood and guts for you gore enthusiasts. The video is decent, while the audio sounds very good. Extras are a miss here too, making this unsavory and dull thriller not worth your money. Don't waste your precious time on this film. Escape while you can.