Cast: David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Byron Mann, Mykelti Williamson
Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Well Blumhouse, you’re back to your old nonsense again. You haven’t released anything that bad this year, which means you were due for a dud sometime soon. Don’t Let Go is this year’s first and hopefully only installment from Blumhouse as they seemed to just dump it off in August and hope that it makes at least a portion of its budget back. A disorganized film that is unnecessarily complicated, carelessly directed, and takes itself way too seriously, Don’t Let Go looks more like a direct-to-streaming version of whatever it was trying to be.
The film follows Jack Radcliff (Oyelowo), a detective for the LAPD whose family was brutally murdered one night. While he is dealing with the grief of his situation, he receives a phone call from his niece Ashley (Reid) who was supposedly murdered. After their conversation, Jack realizes that Ashley is in the past and that the murders haven’t happened yet. This gives Jack time to figure out who murdered his family and how he can prevent the murders from ever happening. The real title of this movie should’ve been Don’t Explain Anything, because not only is the plot absolutely ridiculous to begin with, but major events happen with little to no explanation or introduction. It almost feels as though they came up with a somewhat-interesting concept and had no idea how to get the story from start to finish, so they had to make up some sort of cockamamie event to bridge the movie together and try to make something that they can pass off as smart. This is quite the fall from grace for Oyelowo, who has gone from a Golden Globe-nominated actor five years ago to doing third-rate Blumhouse films that nobody cares about. When you have a talented cast of actors like Oyelowo and Brian Tyree Henry and you don’t use them to the best of their ability, it’s really insulting to the audience that we didn’t get more. Outside of the ridiculous concept, the movie tries way too hard to force the familial and emotional angles but it never works out the way it’s intended. Most of this comes in the form of the relationship between Jack and Ashley, which puts tremendous pressure on Reid to act on the same level as her more experienced stars. After this movie and last year’s A Wrinkle in Time, I don’t know if Reid is a good actress or not, but these roles have not allowed her to showcase her strongest skills or given her any good material to work with. Don’t Let Go is an example of what happens when Blumhouse lets their B-team work on a project as they couldn’t even turn a profit on a movie with a $5 million budget, which is honestly pretty impressive. Don’t Let Go rides a line between being so bad it’s unwatchable and delivering something that nobody is passionately gravitated towards, so from that viewpoint we can just say that this movie existed and we can move forward without it.
Overall, when you go to the Wikipedia page for Don’t Let Go, there’s a link at the bottom to the movie Frequency, which is a much better version of what this movie should’ve been. Blumhouse has had a pretty mediocre year so far, but movies like Don’t Let Go don’t exactly do anything for your brand. When you have the amount of talent that’s in this cast, there’s no reason for such a below-average final product, but Don’t Let Go fails to live up to its meager expectations and can barely provide any sense of urgency in its 107 minute runtime.
Overall Score: 3.5/10