At the screening many film reviewers remarked: “For a film that has had so much money pumped into it, it’s an accident it was made.” Harsh, but Accident is not a great film.
The film is based on a series of unfortunate events that befall two young women, Jess and Caroline, who are gearing up to attend a music concert in Northern California.
Caroline, played by Roxane Hayward, decides it would be a good idea to catch a ride with acquaintances of theirs, as opposed to taking the bus down to the festival as previously agreed.
The plan to drive down with the friends does not pan out, and the girls are forced to hitchhike. Needless to say Jess (Stephanie Shield), the other half of this duo, is not impressed with her friend.
And she’s even more annoyed when Caroline manages to catch the attention of two young men who nearly run her over and convinces them to get her and Jess to the festival.
One of the young men, Fred (Ty Keogh) who is enraptured with the two young women, especially Jess, convinces his friend and driver of a sleek matte black BMW, Thomas (Keenan Arrison) that they can spend time with the girls. It turns out the car is not theirs or their parents, but is stolen.
Once everyone’s fears have been momentarily allayed, the foursome set off on what could possibly be the worst trip of their lives.
The first thing that stands out about the film, which has a predominantly South African cast, was shot in South Africa and has a storyline that could take place easily in South Africa, is that the film-makers elected to set the action in the US.
The one thing that the entire process proved is that regardless of whether you use American actors to do South African characters or South African actors to do American characters, it just doesn’t work. Instead, you’ll be stuck with characters with strange accents.
Perhaps the need for an international-feeling film came from the fact that a large portion of the film’s funding came from overseas funding mechanisms.
Back to the film.
Cape Town is a beautiful city. Possibly beautiful enough to allow you to get away with saying it’s an entirely different city. That aspect was executed fairly well, but sadly it’s one of the film’s few shining moments.
The film’s storyline is also simple enough to follow. And the the cast being trapped in the car wreck and nursing major injuries while trying to survive is thrilling enough to allow the film to move forward.
It is the seemingly small inconsistencies that may cause a bit of cognitive dissonance for the viewer.
For instance, after the crash, Fred is thrown from the vehicle and his shoulder is impaled by a branch. Both his legs are fractured, making it a painful experience to attempt to move. Somewhere along the line he pulls out the branch from his shoulder and blood comes gushing out.
It’s a deep wound but almost 10 minutes later the bleeding has stopped. And he is walking. Fractures or not.
The film also makes use of special effects - they create rain, the shooting helicopter, the removable panelling of the vehicle to reveal wads of cash, further fuelling the mystery of who exactly owns the vehicle.
The film-makers have stated that they had some budgetary constraints. It is wonderful that they managed to produce a good looking film despite these constraints.
And the actors must also be commended for having taken into their stride the sheer physical nature of the film.
They performed most of the stunts themselves. And shooting while stationary in a specific position for extended periods of time was probably not child’s play.