The less you know about "A Perfect Getaway" going in, the better you will be served. It's the type of film you walk out of saying, "Well, I actually didn't see that twist coming" (It's not giving too much away revealing that a film like this would have a twist, a real twist would be if it didn't have a twist). And even say, perhaps, "Wait, was that a good movie?" You know, it almost isn't a good movie. Until, well, "it" happens. Oh, when "it" happens, this goes from your average late summer thriller to something quite different. The crazy thing is that "it" happens right smack in the middle of the film unlike the, now, quite standard twist ending ... "A Perfect Getaway" gives a twist middle.

Cliff (Steve Zahn), a screenwriter, and his new bride Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are on, what is supposed to be, their dream honeymoon in Hawaii. Though, all in Hawaii is not well. You see, there was a brutal murder on the island that is engulfing the local news coverage. Not surprisingly, this plays a role in the plot. Cliff and Cydney, later on a group hiking expedition, become quite suspicious of, well, everybody. They could and probably are hiking with the murderers! Suspicious, with good reason, actually. Among them are Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and his girlfriend Gina (Kiele Sanchez), who are friendly enough, but they also enjoy hunting and disemboweling goats for dinner with their assortment of hunting weapons, so there's that. Also, Nick -- who refers to himself as an American Jedi because of his military training and seemingly inability to be killed -- is obsessed with Cliff's profession. Nick believes his story should be told! Later, people get stabbed.

A Perfect Getaway © Rogue Pictures

The film is never boring and (a little begrudgingly because it's not that it's that good) deserves a second viewing because it leaves the viewer with a lot of questions about the first half. Curious to know how many clues there actually are because it seems clear the film doesn't want the viewer to discover who the killer is until the film decides to tell the viewer the truth. It's deceiving on purpose, bordering on misleading... which is good, actually. One of the few true shocks that's not spoiled by a foreboding precursor in the plot or the advertising campaign. It's good to see Universal take this route but, now, they're left trying to market a run-of-the-mill island murder story when, truthfully, it's a little more than that.

Now, that's not saying someone can't guess the culprit but it would be comparable to someone shooting a cue ball, randomly, in pool and sinking a shot after it banks off of four walls and saying, "See, I did it!" In other words: Yeah, you got it right, but you were just taking a stab in the dark, kind of like the characters in "A Perfect Getaway," only theirs is a literal stab in the dark.

Grade: B

"Mike's Pulse" is a column written by transplanted Midwesterner and current New Yorker Mike Ryan. For any compliments or complaints -- preferably the former -- you may contact Mike directly at
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