Starring: Gabrielle Union
Truly, “me and everybody else” have no clue what a desperate woman is capable of. Where is the weakness of a mother?
Eddie: I meant what I said. You’re an impressive woman.
Shaun: No. I’m not. I am just a mom.
Gabrielle Union, acting as Shaun Russell heads to her father’s house with her children, daughter; Jasmine and son; Glover, in order to prepare it for sale. However, a different worry about her father’s pitiful ending as well as the memories of her childhood engulfs her. I did not see what came after as a possibility even though the angst they feel when they enter foreshadows sinisterness.
While making a call outside of the house, Shaun finds something amiss and in a split second, she and her kids are at the mercy of four criminals- Eddie, Peter, Duncan, and Sam. Fortunately for her, she evades being captured as she manages to hurt one of the criminals who chased her into the woods instead. Isn’t it an exaggeration that she is able to knock her chaser into unconsciousness? Well, it is the home she grew up in; maneuvering her way should not be a problem. She manages to bind and gag Peter while she makes a call to the house with his phone. In the process, Eddie reveals that they have only come for the $4million of her father’s liquidated asset while he was being investigated for a public crime. This point of revelation is where I fault the script. If the father was really being investigated, why were his properties not confiscated? Meanwhile, all that the gang needs is the safe where the money is kept. Will it be that simple even though Shaun is not informed about the money?
Speculating on her chances of getting in to save her kids or to just give herself in to the criminals; the realtor, Maggie, drives in. She meets Eddie, who explains to her that he is just a friend and that Shaun is out to get some groceries. She became suspicious as she cites Shaun’s purse on the table and recalls that her car is in the garage. As a result, she refuses to go in but heads back to her car while dialing 911. Unfortunately, one of the other criminals and a psycho, Duncan catches up with her and slits her throat before everyone’s eyes. This is the act that breaks the fear which hinders any risk that Shaun may have refused to take. Even Eddie rebukes him for encouraging Shaun to become desperate. For him, her fear is manageable but not her desperation.
Truly, as he fears, Shaun gets set up for whatever she has to do to save her family. She manages her way in and gave instruction to Jasmine who in turn tells the criminal that she knows where the safe is. In an attempt to open the safe, Shaun makes a call from the wood asking them to release her kids since they have found the safe. She baits them with releasing Peter who only has the code to unlocking the safe. Unfortunately, the gang is ready to sacrifice their own as Shaun uses Peter to cover from the gunshots and escapes back into the wood. And yes, good for them, they get the decoding tool they need from Peter’s necklace. Having packed the money, they resolve to make the break-in look like a fire incidence by setting the children and the house on fire. This was however, not to be as the whole power supply goes off and they have to deal with Shaun once and for all. The instruction, according to Eddie is that she should be cut into two by the psycho as soon as he finds her.
Everyone was on her trail and she gets caught on the roof by Duncan and Sam while attempting to rescue her children. That seems to be her end but fortunately she manages to escape while killing Sam in the process. On the other hand, Jasmine is able to set herself and his brother free with a metal object with her. They are fortunate to run into their mother’s company and run into the woods with Duncan chasing to kill. They get into a car on time and uses it to run down Duncan whose life seems to be greater than death.
By the time Eddie comes close to the car, they have found their way into the house again jubilating that it is over. After all, the criminals have the bag of money with them until Jasmine alerts her mother about the bag still in the house. Still better anyway, they are the one in control of the security now. But life plays its cruelty again as Justin, Shaun’s husband drives in. A fight ensues between him and Eddie and this forces Shaun to open the door for him. She already sends her kid out through the other way, she stands before the bag of money she already doused with paraffin while holding a lighter. Her instructions were simple: take the bag of money and leave carefully or I set it on fire. Eddie bids for the former but as he turns around, he meets death in the hand of Duncan who feels obviously betrayed.
At this point, I felt it was all over for Shaun. Of all people, I do not think she can escape Duncan’s wrath even though he reveals that he wished he had a mother like her. This is one psycho she ran over with a car. Shaun tries to escape but Duncan is keen on taking it out on her. Hearing her mother’s agony, Jasmine returns into the house. Seeing her, Duncan focuses on her as he tries to defile her and on the other hand, Shaun carefully aims for Eddie’s gun. Duncan sees her and gets to the gun first. He bents over a disappointed Shaun who reached out for his knife without his knowledge.
Duncan: Do you have something to say?
Shaun: Yea. You broke into the wrong fucking house.
He reaches out to his empty knife keep and a returned shocking look at Shaun was reciprocated with angry knife pierces into his chest.
What a smart way to end the gory day. But what would have been her gain if Duncan had had his way with her daughter and ended up killing her and probably her son and husband? I should say too that Duncan is the only appealing actor who fits in the movie. Talk about his ruthlessness, his psychopathic nature, and others. I think however, that Shaun’s efforts are rather too exaggerated. Is this an interplay of a deus ex machine or fate or providence? Maggie is rather too distant to be the scapegoat. Mind you, it does not mean I love tragedy but for a crime and thriller movie, I think Shaun did not pay much to earn victory. Tragedy should have been employed as a corrective tool to help the audience experience a purgation of emotion to the highest level.
On the other hand, the plot organization, characterization and dialogue are well knotted. I love the synergy brought in by the dialogue between Eddie and Shaun, and that which occurred between Shaun and Duncan in the course of the resolution.
Rachael Ogunmuyiwa is a final-year student of the Department of English, University of Ibadan.