Rushlights (R)
by Phil Boatwright

Beau Bridges, Aidan Quinn, Josh Henderson and Haley Webb star in this new-to-DVD/Blu-ray psychological thriller. Not rated, the 94-minute production is directed by Antoni Stutz and released by Vertical Entertainment.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Billy meets Sarah in a café, the two fall for each other, then her roommate dies and twosome run off to Texas. But what’s this? Sarah accidently took her roommate’s wallet and all her things. Turns out Sarah looks just like the young woman who overdosed in their apartment. And there’s a letter! The dead girl was to inherit a fortune. So, Billy decides they should drive there and cash in. But if you ever saw a movie, you know it’s not going to be that easy for the couple.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Rushlights, or Implausible, as I like to call it, wants to be a Hitchcock thriller, but is troubled with mediocrity, a script riddled with improbable situations, and more connect-the-dots subplots than an NBC soap opera.

Sometimes you think later about a film’s ludicrous elements, but they’re so obvious in this production that you spotlight them right away. I won’t even mention Josh Henderson’s four-day beard growth that never seems to lengthen throughout the month-long adventure. That’s a Hollywood “Joe Cool” affectation. For the record, it takes a special electric razor to allow hair growth to appear the same for days. It’s kind of like those screen heroes who spike their hair in order to look casual. That’s an expensive and time-consuming hairstyling process that does little to make a man look, well, manly. But we’ll forgive the affectation of a young actor who seemingly wants to be the next Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, Journey to the Center of the Earth).

Let’s skip to the setup for our first implausibility. The lead boy wants a date with lead girl. He finally gets the nerve to ask her out. It’s not until later that we discover he’s been ordered to get involved with her because she looks like her roommate, and one of the villains (oh, there’s plenty of villains) is blackmailing the lead to get to the dead girl’s fortune. But the roommate dies of an overdose only after the young couple gets involved. How does he know that the roommate is going to overdoes so his new girlfriend can take her place? How does he know the dead chick has a fortune coming to her?

And when the druggy does die, why do these two run off? They haven’t done anything wrong. The girl dies of a drug overdose – how does that make them guilty of a crime? And does running off do anything but make them look suspicious? And why does the lead girl have her roommate’s wallet – and a letter from a lawyer saying the girl has a fortune coming to her?

Then, when a prowler gets accidently shot by the girl (who drops a rifle by the fireplace when her boyfriend gets frisky and the gun blast just so happens to hit the prowler outside the house), why don’t they just call the police? Again, they’re not guilty of a crime. So, why do they steal the prowler’s gun and hide his car? Now they have committed a felony.

And on and on the silly situations go. Nearly every improbability could have been fixed with a quick rewrite. Evidently those making the film felt there was no need. Either they thought we wouldn’t notice the unlikely activities or, worse yet, the writer, director and producer didn’t.

I guess this crude obscenity of a movie went directly to DVD. While I’m sure everyone involved tried to do their best, the script should have gone directly to the ashcan.

Rushlights is 94 minutes long and unrated at time of screening (it contains around twenty obscenities, mostly the f- and s-words; both God’s name and Christ’s are profaned; there are three sex scenes, and they become graphic, though there is no nudity; in one scene we see a sex tape feature elderly homosexuals; drug use, including pot smoking and heroin use, though it is not glamorized; several violent acts that include shootings, strangulations and brutal beatings; a villain tries to rape the lead girl, but she sticks him in the face with a drug-filled syringe; a wounded gunshot victim is seen sewing up his own wound; another man gets shot in the head with a shotgun, and we see the results).

DVD Alternatives: Go with Hitchcock – Suspicion, Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, or any of the rest of them.