Todd Levin’s “Static” would work a lot better if it were shorter, better paced, and didn’t give away the surprise ending in the opening seconds. Seriously, if you’ve seen this type of film with this kind of set up before, you’ll catch on to where the entire premise is going. I figured it for a home invasion thriller like “Ils Them,” but then I eventually pinpointed where they were headed once Sara Paxton reared her gorgeous face.
But anyone can really make the mistake of assuming this is another copy of “The Strangers” or “Ils Them.” It feels like the writers and Todd Levin didn’t know how to go about the entire premise, and everything involved with making this movie led in to those final fifteen minutes. They likely wrote that out, and then built it from there. The movie composes itself like a PG version of “The Strangers,” as the most blood shed we get is a broken glass in someone’s foot that has to be pulled out. Everything else is implied, or off screen. Johnathan and Addie Dade are in their cabin by the lake preparing for a weekend of relaxation as Johnathan is preparing to finish his new novel. Seem familiar?
After losing their son years before, the couple are trying to repair their marriage and rekindle their romance. There’s anger, resentment, and of course, Sara Paxton shows up as a stranded traveler who declares she’s being chased after by a group of masked men. It goes on the same beats we’ve seen with prior better horror thrillers of this ilk. Johnathan and Addie find that they’re not alone, mysterious devices are found all over the house, and soon enough it becomes a fight for their lives. And Paxton’s character Rachel seems to not only know a lot about Johnathan but seems to also be intent on seducing him. When you consider the final half, that added touch feels superfluous and pointless to the resolution as a whole. “Static” would be creepy, if it weren’t so familiar and boring.
Often times I sat with furrowed brows wondering if this was going anywhere. I wanted something to happen. Anything. There’s a lot of running around, sneaking around, whispering, slipping through the dark, and not much else. Oddly enough when the surprise ending unfolds and provides a detailed explanation for audiences, “Static” really does go from a bland wannabe of “The Strangers” in to something completely different and unique. I really did want to learn more about the villains and how this all begins. I also would love to see future exploits. Without giving anything away, “Static” is worth sitting through if only for the finale, which really does aim for something completely out of left field, and mostly accomplishes a stunner. Mediocre and often bereft of frights, “Static” is truthfully only salvageable because of its final act.