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Shouldn't have Gone'

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Mediocre thriller has nothing to offer

Winter is a good time for a thriller. It's cold and dark outside, and we're maybe just a little more predisposed toward the danger by proxy of the genre. Well if it's a good one. If it's a bad one, the only thrill will come when the credits finally roll.

'Gone' resides firmly in the latter category.

Amanda Seyfried ('In Time') plays Jill, a woman who is still recovering from the trauma of her kidnapping a year previously. Despite a lengthy investigation at the time, led by Detective Powers (Daniel Sunjata, TV's 'Rescue Me'), no evidence was found and Jill was eventually dismissed as mentally ill.

However, when Jill's sister Molly (Emily Wickersham, 'I Am Number Four') disappears without a trace, Jill is convinced that the man who took her has come back to finish the job that he started. However, no one believes her except the new guy, Detective Hood (Wes Bentley, 'There Be Dragons'). Things rapidly spiral out of control; Jill is in a race against time, desperate to find her sister before the man succeeds with Molly where he failed with Jill.

For a thriller to work, it absolutely must generate some sort of sympathetic tension with the hero. The pressure and the fear need to be there or the film will simply fall flat. And that's where 'Gone' fails. To put it bluntly, it's boring. Really boring.

Amanda Seyfried seems nice enough, but there's an inescapable blandness to her that pervades the entire film. She simply can't convey the sort of visceral emotional range that the role requires. Mostly, she just looked either mildly confused or on the verge of sneezing, punctuated with the occasional high-pitched shriek. The supporting cast isn't much better; the vast majority of them came off as disinterested. But why would they worry about developing meaningful characters when it's obvious the screenwriter didn't bother? What would be the point?

That general sense of boredom pervaded (and was a little contagious - I checked my watch several times, despite a reported runtime of 85 minutes) and generally dragged down the film's energy. Add to that disconnect a wildly implausible story reliant on a number of questionable decisions and you've got a movie that simply wasn't worth sitting through.

'Gone' isn't even bad enough to be memorable. It's just another below-average movie, one that will spend a couple of weeks at the Cineplex before fading away and living up to its title.

1 out of 5

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