Review Locked | Dramatic thriller is slow paced but enjoyable

Director DJ Caruso’s thriller Trancada hit Prime Video in May, and while it’s slower-paced than it should be, it’s a nice addition to the stream.

May 13
– 00:01

(updated at 4:15 am)

One of the great news of May in the Prime Video catalog is the thriller feature by director DJ Caruso. Entitled locked, the film mixes drama with tension to tell the story of a mother of two young children, who has to do everything possible to defend them from their addicted father and his pedophile friend. Starring Rainey Qualley (Eight Women and a Secret), the work has a much slower pace than expected and at times it even becomes tiring, but, in general, it pleases for the good premise and the anguish it delivers.

In the plot, Qualley is Jessica, an ex-addict who struggles every day to stay clean and take care of her children, Lainey being the oldest, four years old. As soon as her grandmother dies, she goes to her house to clean it up and try to sell it. It turns out that, on site, she is surprised by Rob (Jake Horowitz), her ex-boyfriend, and Sammy (Vincent Gallo), his friend who has previously abused a girl. The two lock her in the pantry and make her life hell, threatening the children.


Running out of time, Jessica has to find a solution to leave the place and protect her children, and it is with this premise that locked creates frightening situations to conquer the spectator. With harrowing yet not explicit moments, the film touches on themes such as child and drug abuse to leave the public biting their nails.

Defects appear, however, when the script forgets that such tension is essential to keep the pace. At various times, there is no dialogue and a certain apathy takes over the scenes.

Jessica, for example, seems too calm for someone who is locked in the pantry, knowing that her two children are alone and hungry. She only gets really worried when Sammy gets close to Lainey, but still her facial expression is too serene for the despair she should feel.

Photo: Playback/Voltage Pictures / Canaltech

It’s not to say that Qualley is a bad actress, but it’s clear that she wasn’t well directed. Despite the experience in other titles such as Paranoia, Love of Redemption It is I’m the number fourCaruso did not do well in locked and let the film fall into slowness.

The other two supporting actors appear little on the scene, but when they do, they are not displeasing. The highlight is little Luciana VanDette, who plays Lainey, and her stunt double Penélope Martone. Both manage to be sweet and pleasant, which makes the film even more exciting, awakening in the viewer the fear that something bad will happen to the character.

Religion as a fulcrum

In addition to the drama of having to protect their two young children, Jessica also faces the temptation of having to resist a pack of cocaine that is within her reach. Clean for some time, she doesn’t want to go back to drugs and somehow finds in her faith the strength to stand her ground.

Between furtive glances at the cross in the pantry and some readings from the Bible, the protagonist builds her relationship with the sacred little by little, but such moments are also somewhat lost in the plot, especially after she manages to get out of captivity. .

Photography and scenery

Other points that please, but fall into the cliché are the photography and the scenery. For a change, we have a big house, with stairs (of course!) isolated in the middle of nowhere. Who could live there? The protagonist lives with her two young children. Of course, something bad is going to happen, and that’s no surprise to the viewer.

Another point already seen several times in several horror and suspense films is the contrast between the dark in the moments of tension and the light in the part of the happy ending. locked abuses this formula and does not bring any innovation.

Therefore, we can say that the great success of the film is really using sweet children to generate the necessary anguish and also narrate the story from Jessica’s point of view. Newcomer Melanie Toast’s plot is promising, and with proper direction it might work even better, but there’s no denying that Caruso’s feature is, in a way, a good addition to the Prime Video catalogue.

Who wants to give a chance to lockedfinds it exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

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