A riddle can easily be defined as one of two things: a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed. Or alternatively something or someone difficult to understand. Riddle (2013) is not a deep-rooted conundrum, or a hard to solve mystery. It is very misleading, puzzling, and mystifying it’s in lack of technical accuracy. However the solution is ultimately that it’s basically a waste of time. Riddle is directed by John O. Hartman (Wyatt Earp 1994) and Nicholas Mross. I would say it stars Val Kilmer, but that’s basically a lie as his screentime in the film consists of about 6 minutes. Why his face is on the poster, I have literally no idea. His character is an irrelevant stock character, who has roughly 5 lines in the whole film. If we’re putting irrelevant cameo roles on the poster, where’s William Sadler’s face? He was in it too, and was actually marginally more relevant. Anyhow anger aside, it stars Elisabeth Harnois, and a lot of fresh faces.
Holly Teller (Elizabeth Harnois) is a sensible do-gooder who has a very healthy relationship with her brother. One day at school, her brother Nathan is harassed by two bullies. They take him for a ride in their car, as the one driving heads straight into a truck only to swerve away at the last second. Nathan urinates himself, as they stop at a gas station so he can clean up. A few seconds later Nathan is missing. 3 years later, her brother is still missing, as Holly believes she sees him drive away in a truck with a strange looking man. She finds out where Nathan is living and uncovers a ‘mystery’ to find him much to the discomfort of Sheriff Richards (Val Kilmer). The inhabitants of Riddle become unsettled as Holly roots around, along with her friend, and the two guys who lost him in the first place. Holly and her brother were adopted, he was taken by their original father, and that’s about it.
So what’s wrong with Riddle? Let’s start with a plot analysis. First of all, if you’re a bully and you don’t like someone, why would you ever want them to go for a ride with you? Why abandon the old tried and true methods of assaulting the kid or verbal abuse, but asking if he wants to go for a joyride? Why would you ever possibly want that. What were they intending to do? leave him in the woods or something? Second of all, how did their biological father happen to conveniently be there at the right time in all of 20 seconds when he was in the toilet. Was he stalking them? Why did the people of Riddle never see the boy around town considering Holly saw them driving in a different town. Riddle is a mess of basic plot errors, and logic knots but quite fundamentally the premise isn’t even vaguely entertaining. The Thriller is a genre that has such rich roots in it’s genealogy and it really is a shame to see films try and emulate the Hitchcock-esque style so badly.
The performances surprisingly weren’t bad, not good by any stretch of the imagination, but satisfactory. The film had barely enough engagement to keep me watching just because I was more curious than anything. What else is there to say really? A horribly deformed father who killed his wive, sought to reclaim his son and did, and attempted to kill his daughter, murdering many of her newly made friends in the process. I can’t help but think the story wouldn’t have happened if Nathan wasn’t seemingly incapable of the most basic of motor functions. Riddle is a catastrophe of a film, suffering from incredibly basic errors in casting, writing, and direction. It clearly tried to plug the film solely based on the cameos by Val Kilmer and William Sadler (Why did you bother guys!?) What riles me most is how bizarre the poster is in all of it’s completely irrelevance. Well, that’s all for this time. I may review something that’s not a complete waste of time later today. But we’ll see. Follow me @Sams_Reel_Views.