Stars: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall
Director: James Mangold
Screenwriter: Michael Cooney
Suspenseful mystery thriller about a group of ten strangers stranded at a motel located on a deserted stretch of highway in Nevada during a raging storm.
Seemingly a play on Agatha Christie’s terrific Ten Little Indians, guests begin to turn up dead and paranoia sets in as the group tries to pinpoint the killer among them or find the mystery guest lurking someone in the stormy dark. Screenwriter Michael Cooney and director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted) set up clues early on and it’s no coincidence that these people wind up at the same motel on the same lousy night. They keep the action tight and the acting believable for the most part with a tasty twist at the end.
Among the group waiting for their curtain call: Larry (John Hawkes), an edgy motel manager, faded TV star Caroline Suzanne (Rebecca DeMornay), her driver Ed (John Cusack) an ex-L.A. cop; hot-headed and barely competent police officer Rhodes (Ray Liotta) who’s transporting a crazed prisoner (Jake Busey); pretty hooker Paris (Amanda Peet) out to start a new life; a pair of newlyweds Ginny and Lou (Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott); distraught husband George (John C. McGinley) whose wife Alice (Leila Kenzle) has been injured in an accident, plus their small son (Bret Loehr).
Who’s next and what’s their connection? They spend precious little time trying to discover both. I suggest you spend your precious time referring back to the clues set up at the beginning which involves a serial killer Malcolm Rivers (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a man trying to get a stay of execution at the last possible moment. Alfred Molina plays a psychiatrist out to help him. His action is intercut through the motel sequences.
Lotta says: Good solid performances from Cusack, Liotta and Peet. Vince, the strange one, is always a delight. Nice to see DeMornay again. Quite serviceable mystery. Rated R – for strong violence and language.