When I initially screened THE DESPERATE HOUR, back at TIFF 2021, it was entitled “Lakewood.” The name change certainly serves the film better, as the protagonist is forced into a state of desperation for much of it – and subsequently the audience along with her.

Naomi Watts (The Divergent Series: Insurgent) portrays Amy Carr, a woman who’s out on a run and receives a harrowing phone call involving her son Noah (Colton Gobbo) and an active school shooting. Miles away and isolated in the middle of nowhere, with no immediate way to get to her destination, Amy has to rely on wit and the mercy of others to gain insight and assistance with getting to both the truth and her son.

Watts is the absolute best part of this project, turning in a gripping and almost singlehanded (solo on screen) performance for much of the 1 hr. and 24-minute run time. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch Amy’s predicament while she attempts to figure out if her son is a victim – or a possible perpetrator – of the fully undefined event with only a low battery powered cell phone at her disposal.

It’s fast paced and intriguing, but unfortunately watered down by the preachiness in which the final act culminates.

Do I think it’s worth a watch? Absolutely, for Watt’s performance alone and because the story is mostly satisfactory. But it plays better as a streaming option that is readily available than one I’d recommend seeing at theaters. I rate it 3 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.

THE DESPERATE HOUR premieres February 25 in select theaters and on VOD.

Until next thought, Thomasena

PS: you can watch the TIFF press conference, that included star Naomi Watts, director Phillip Noyce, and screenwriter Christopher Sparling, in the below video. The MMT question is asked at approximately the 16-minute mark. And if you enjoy this video, and would like to see more MMT takes, make sure you are signed up for our YouTube Channel!

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