The Weekend Away (2022) ☆☆(2/4): Her BFF is vanished…

Netflix film “The Weekend Away”, which was released a few days ago, is a run-of-the-mill thriller flick which will not surprise you much if you are a seasoned moviegoer. For example, we are supposed to be quite surprised at a certain narrative point later in the story, but that sudden moment of revelation is pretty contrived and predictable to say the least, and I bet that you will already expect something else to occur next because the movie still has more than 10 minutes to be filled in one way or another.

The movie opens with its heroine’s arrival in a popular tourist city in Croatia, and its first act quickly establishes her long relationship with her best friend. Because things have not been that good between her and her husband, Beth (Leighton Meester) decides to refresh herself a bit as spending some free time along with Kate (Christina Wolfe), and Kate is already ready to have lots of fun with Beth right from when Beth arrives at a house where they are supposed to stay during next several days. Although she and her rich husband are going through a divorce, Kate can still spend lots of money freely, and Beth does not mind her friend’s luxurious hospitality at all.

However, the mood becomes rather unnerving when they try to enjoy their first night in the city. There is a little problem with Kate’s credit card, and then Beth witnesses Kate having an argument with someone on the phone. Despite these two troubles, Kate remains vivacious as before, and she later takes Beth to a local nightclub for more fun and drinking.

Of course, not long after they encounter a couple of local guys in the nightclub, Beth becomes unconscious for no apparent reason, and, what do you know, she subsequently finds herself waking up at her staying place in the next morning. Quite perplexed and confused, Beth naturally looks for her friend, but her friend is not in the house, and then Beth notices a few suspicious signs including a broken wine glass on the floor.

As her friend remains to be missing during next several hours, Beth goes to a local police station, but a couple of local detectives assigned to her are not particularly interested in finding her friend. After all, Kate is not the only person who got recently vanished in their area, and, as suggested by her cynical ex-husband, it is quite possible that she is simply hiding herself for getting more attention from others around her as before.

Nevertheless, Beth cannot possibly believe that her friend is pulling a naughty prank on her because her few fragments of memory from that confusing night clearly suggest that something bad happened to her friend. Besides, it looks like Kate was hiding some serious secret from her best friend, and that may be involved with her missing.

As she tries to get to the bottom of the situation, Beth comes to get an unexpected help from Zain (Ziad Bakri), a Syrian refugee taxi driver who already met Beth when she had just arrived in the city. Looking quite sympathetic to her trouble, he comes to help her more than expected as a guy who can speak Croatian besides English and Arabic, and, thanks to his invaluable assistance, Beth comes to acquire a few things which might give her the answer to what really occurred during that night.

Considering what is already shown in the very first shot of the film, I guess it is not much of a spoiler to tell you that the circumstance becomes more desperate and complicated for our heroine. As thrown into more confusion and paranoia, Beth cannot trust anyone around her, and even Zain turns out to have something hidden behind his back besides his painful past involved with the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Around that narrative point, the screenplay by Sarah Alderson, which is based on her novel of the same name, attempts to catch us and its heroine off guard more than once, but the result is not that successful on the whole. For example, we instantly come to have suspicion on a creepy local lad running the house, so we are not so surprised by what is revealed later in the story. Above all, the movie dutifully follows the time-honored Law of Economy of Characters, so you will come to regard a certain character in the story with more suspicion for good reasons.

While I got disappointed more and more with its lackluster storytelling, I reflected more on how much the main cast members of the film try to keep us interested, though their fine efforts are not always successful enough to compensate for broad characterization. Leighton Meester, who has been mainly known for TV drama series “Gossip Girl”, acquit herself well despite being often demanded to look merely panic and desperate, and Christina Wolfe and Ziad Bakri are mostly effective as filling their respective spots as much as required.

Overall, “The Weekend Aways” is not awfully bad at all, and director Kim Farrant and her cast and crew members did try their best with the materials given to them, but the movie still does not entertain me much. As a matter of fact, it has already been getting forgotten in my mind, and my mind is already ready to move onto whatever I am going to watch next.

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