Movie Review: Riddle (2013)

Synopsis: Three years after her younger brother, Nathan, disappeared while on a joy ride with two of his high school classmates, Holly Teller believes she saw him at a farmer's market and determined to investigate, ends up in the dying town of Riddle, Pennsylvania. Once there, she finds the local sheriff and most townspeople are unwilling to help her because they are protecting their own dark secret.

Who's in it? The movie stars Elisabeth Harnois, Val Kilmer, Diora Baird, William Sadler and Bryan Lillis.


Review: My wife went to the library yesterday and, while there, picked out this movie. Even though I hadn't heard of it, I decided to watch it with her last night. At first, I thought it would be better than expected but, unfortunately, it did end up being a bit of a letdown overall.

The premise itself wasn't terrible, though I think I've seen more than my fair share of abduction movies at this point (my wife seems to be obsessed with them lately for some reason). I liked how Nathan (Ryan Malgarini) disappeared without any sort of warning or clue about who would want to randomly kidnap a high school kid. Plus, when his sister (Harnois) investigates three years later, the sheriff's (Kilmer) reluctance to help was a pretty large red flag.

I am even going to give the movie some credit for some surprisingly intense scenes near the end of the movie, when Holly and her friends figure out the mystery. It gave the movie a bit of a slasher film feel, at least for a little while, and did admittedly have me on the edge of my seat.

My biggest problem with this film is it never really gives the full story and, because of that, left out quite a few key details. For example, while the kidnapper's motive was obvious once the movie revealed who it was (or, actually, we guessed at who it was), it doesn't tell us how he just happened to be at a random gas station at the same time Nathan got there - something that honestly seemed like it would have to be premeditated even though there was no indication it was.

The movie also never explains why, other than her ex-classmates, nobody in Riddle wants to help Holly. I mean, sure, they were trying to cover up the fact they burned down a psychiatric hospital, but it didn't seem like something that would be a deterrent to helping a girl find her missing brother or, in one case, a reason to try to kill her. 

Heck, the movie doesn't even make it clear if anyone even knew the kidnapper was living there or if they truly thought Holly was making things up. Of course, I'm also still scratching my head about why Holly wouldn't tell people she saw someone wearing her brother's custom shoes. That seems like something that would be an important detail to include if you are trying to convince people you have new evidence.

Final Opinion: I think the best way to describe this movie is it seemed to be incomplete, as though there was supposed to be a much-more-complicated conspiracy happening in Riddle, but the filmmakers changed their mind at the last second. It's an OK movie overall but could have definitely been better.

My Grade: C-

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