7:30 PM, 18th May, 2018
An insurance salesman on his daily commute home encounters a mysterious stranger, who offers him an intriguing opportunity: identify the odd passenger out on the train, and be rewarded with $100,000. Little does he know that, by accepting, he is being dragged into a deadly criminal conspiracy.
The Commuter is the latest in a string of action movies starring Liam Neeson – with a host of similarities to his recent work in Run All Night and especially Non-Stop, all directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The film is Neeson’s fourth collaboration with Collet-Serra, who has been building a steady portfolio of effective small-scale action thrillers, including 2016’s terrific shark survival horror, The Shallows.
True to form, The Commuter is an intriguing premise, and unfolds as a tense puzzle with surprising twists and turns, and a suitably visceral conclusion. Like most of Collet-Serra’s work, the payoff isn’t quite as much of a gut-punch as the spine-tingling premise, but the journey is full of thrills. Plus, who can resist Liam Neeson back in action?
9:25 PM, 18th May, 2018
In San Jose, California, there is a remarkably large mansion built by Sarah Winchester, widow of the owner of the Winchester rifle company. Constructed over a period of 38 years between 1884 and her death in 1922, it contains doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows that only overlook other rooms in the house, 161 rooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 2 basements and 3 elevators. Supposedly the continuous construction was to ward off the malevolent spirits of the victims of her late husband’s rifles – only with a house this large can these restless souls finally find peace.
But what if they didn’t?
The Spierig Brothers are some of the best Australian horror directors – from the lower-budget zombie flick Undead, to the time-twisting paradoxes of Predestination (including a Hollywood detour directing Jigsaw) – which makes them the perfect combo for this spooky tale. Throw in Helen Mirren as the widow plus a largely Australian cast (including Predestination’s Sarah Snook), filming both in the real house and in Melbourne studios, and you’ve got the makings of a creepy night in the cinema.