Gone

At the very least, Amanda Seyfried has the perfect eyes for a suspense thriller. Even when her eyelids are a little heavy, she still looks more awake than the most wide-eyed girl in any slasher flick, ever.

Fortunately, though, there’s more to her in Gone, as she single-handedly carries a movie that may well have been unbearable without her.

Playing like the ‘late-night cable’ stepchild of The Silence of the Lambs, Gone follows Seyfried as Jill, a young woman who was abducted a year earlier but somehow escaped from her captor in the Oregon wilderness. The fact that no evidence was ever found, though, makes her just another crazy little lady, in the eyes of the Portland Police Department.

Then, when she returns home from her graveyard shift one morning, she finds her sister missing, and Jill is convinced that the same guy who took her is back at it. The police (still) don’t believe her, and her sister’s boyfriend is only a little concerned, but Jill knows she up against the clock, so she sets off on her own to put the clues together and find her sister herself.

Director Heitor Dhalia (Adrift) has put together a nifty little bit of suspense here, though it is hampered by a pedestrian script from Allison Burnett (Untraceable). Chock-full of too many isn’t-that-convenient moments (Jill is not only able to identify the kidnapper within twelve hours, but track him down, too), it starts to ring false pretty early on.

Seyfried, though, comes to the rescue. Her steely-eyed grittiness (a welcome departure from the soft-eyed silliness of last year’s Red Riding Hood) helps put us into the moment, and the ample tension, punctuated by David Buckley’s haunting score, will keep you there– even if you’re never quite sure why the bad guy would leave such an obvious trail of bread crumbs, including his phone number and a description of his own car.

And as with almost every movie of this type, the red herrings pile up throughout; every male Jill encounters (cops included) is just squirrelly enough to jump to the top of her list of suspects, and there’s even the requisite cat-jumping-out-of-a-closet scene, but overall Gone works– provided you can suspend disbelief a little and just let yourself get caught up in the moment.

3.5/5 stars