The thriller genre is a wonderful one as it straddles the line between dramas and horror, often shifting back and forth between the two. My favorite thrillers are ones that find the characters faced with impossible situations that they must overcome to survive. A new film out this month, Extortion, takes a regular family vacation and turns it into a totally plausible nightmare.
Kevin and Julie Riley (Eion Bailey, Bethany Joy Lenz) are taking a well-deserved Caribbean vacation with their son Andy (Mauricio Alemañy). After renting a boat from a local to explore the menagerie of islands, the Riley’s find themselves stranded on a small remote island when the boat won’t restart. Eventually a local fisherman (Barkhad Abdi) finds them but tells Kevin he will only rescue his wife and son if Kevin pays a hefty ransom. Now Kevin must race against the clock to stop the fisherman, alert the authorities and rescue his family before it is too late.
Extortion is a fast-paced survival thriller at its best. Eion Bailey, who has a slight resemblance Paul Rudd, delivers a frantic and emotional performance as the man faced with the most impossible decisions. Barkhad Abdi who gained fame as the head pirate in the Tom Hanks film Captain Phillips, is also excellent as the local man looking to find a way out of his difficult life. Writer and director Phil Volken does a great job of ratcheting up the tension and once it gets going it gets almost unbearable. Every viewer can relate to the situation of desperately trying to save their loved ones and being at the mercy of another individual, so the fast-paced story of survival plays very well. And it doesn’t hurt that the filmmakers added Danny Glover in as a local cop trying to make sense of the situation for some star power. I will never argue with the decision to add Danny Glover to anything. For some great thrills, I highly recommend checking out Extortion.