A thriller with promise that loses it's way.
The Clovehitch Killer (2021), released in November 2018, is now available on Netflix. The thriller tells the story of Tyler Burnside (Charlie Plummer) discovering his idyllic Christian family is anything but. After coming across a cache of disturbing information in his father’s possession, Charlie enlists school pariah Kassi (Madisen Beaty) to decipher what it all means. The premise leads us down a twisted road with an ending that doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the film.
As we’ve alluded to in past reviews, it isn’t just how a film or a television series begins. It’s how they hold our interest and finish with a bang.
Serial killers hiding in plain sight are nothing new. BTK was a father. Ted Bundy was one too. They had jobs, lived two lives. In Clovehitch, Don Burnside (Dylan McDermott) is no different. He’s a troop leader, donates his time to helping the food pantry and attends church regularly. The community respects him. His son reveres him until a revelation happens that threatens to unravel Burnside’s image and reputation.
It’s here that the film loses its way. Characters thrust together to confirm suspicions. They left several tendrils of plot open open without explanation or closure. The film switches from a slow-paced thriller to one that felt it needed to finish under a certain runtime.
Clovehitch starts off with an interesting premise. It reels you in and makes you want to stay for a bit. Then, for some inexplicable reason, it lets the line go as they rush to the finish line. While McDermott and Plummer do their best with the material, their interactions at the end feel forced and almost lost. It’s sad, as the beginning had so much promise.