3 out of 10
Release Date: 24th October 2011 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Rupert Bryan
Cast: Zara Phythian, Barbara Nedeljakova, Lisa Marie Long, Stephanie Siadaten, Jemma Bolt, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Daniel Caren, Dominic Le Moignan with Tamer Hassan and Shauna Macdonald
Writer: Rupert Bryan
Trailer: THE HIKE
There’s not a lot going on here. Five babes; one disposable sensible blonde (JEMMA BOLT), one jilted and flirty Eastern European (BARBARA NEDELJAKOVA – PIMP), one disposable Brunette (LISA MARIE LONG), one disposable black, blonde girl (a multi-tasking STEPHANIE SIADATEN) and one disposable traumatised soldier back in from the world (ZARA PHYTHIAN – UNDERGROUND) go for a bonding holiday in the woods. There’s one main problem, three of them have only ever walked on pavements before, so a lot of bickering ensues. Also the jilted one is being followed by her thick gangster boyfriend, enter Tamer Hassan (EASTERN PROMISES) who actually thinks they’re going to a sex orgy instead. What all six of them encounter on the walk is a different type of orgy all together, one of blood and death.
A decent set-up to establish the characters would have been nice except the cliches run fast and thick from the very first introductions. What could have been a nice inversion of The Descent has all the thrills and spills as an episode of Hi-De-Hi, with baddies less scary than Su Pollard‘s Peggy! The only character who gets a bit of background shading is the soldier, played in true wooden fashion by Lara Croft look-a-like Zara Phythian, who it would seem is being groomed to be the UK’s female answer to Jason Statham on the indie scene. But she’s a shit actress based on the evidence here, so there’s very little to hold her back considering the acting skills of her American contemporaries like Cynthia Rothrock or Gina Carano. Her character gets to relate an episode that killed her lover in Iraq whilst on a tour. Still quite traumatised she quite rightly embarks on a tough and stressful holiday with her four best mates. Luckily they meet three hunky male hikers (Ben Loyd-Holmes, Daniel Caren, Dominic Le Moignan) who may just make their time in the woods pass that bit more pleasantly. Unfortunately, for all concerned there are quite a few red herrings deep in the woods. So when the bodies begin to pile up who is doing the killing?
The ‘who-dunnit’ element of the film is perhaps the only good thing about it as the story completely wrong foots you. It was like that episode in Eastenders when they were keeping the identity of Michelle Fowler‘s baby’s father a secret. We see her on the phone speaking to the unknown father, agreeing that they’ll come and meet them. Cue about five major male characters all making excuses to leave where they are in a hurry. We have something similar here in The Hike. We have in the woods Tamer Hassan dopey thug, a Polish threesome which consists of a suspicious and angry man and two subservient women and a soldier with post traumatic stress disorder. So for once we are spoilt with the number of suspects that are stacked up. Once the killer(s) is revealed at a relatively early stage the film goes down hill again. In turn, it becomes a plod as the cardboard boys and girls meet their demises in non-memorable ways. Shauna MacDonald from The Descent shows up along the way to remind us that films like this can be good, but she’s pretty much wasted in a cameo role that is little more than an afterthought and seems to be stitched in from a different film altogether. Only her and Tamer Hassan do anything close to real acting.
And so it goes, we have an early lame vehicle for Zara Phythian who has about eight starring vehicles lined up on IMDB. As a calling card for her, its limp. The plot is predictable (apart from the killer’s identity), the acting and script are universally terrible and the action scenes are below par but not noticeably bad. As a time-passer you could do worse, but there was way too much room for improvement needed to make The Hike fly. Should have been called The Trudge.
3 out of 1o – I did not LIKE the HIKE.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Zara Phythian: Knights of the Damned, Warrioress, He Who Dares, Underground (2008)
- Barbara Nedeljakova: Isle of Dogs, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Pimp, Hostel 2, Hostel
- Ben Loyd-Holmes: Carnivore, Knights of the Damned, Breaking Down, I Am Hooligan, Extinction – Jurassic Predators, He Who Dares
- Daniel Caren: Breaking Down, Extinction – Jurassic Predators, He Who Dares
- Tamer Hassan: Amoc, Bitter Harvest, Breakdown (2016), Robot Overlords, The Hooligan Factory, Diamond Heist, The Double (2012), Freerunner, The Reverend (2012), Kick Ass, Dead Man Running, The Last Seven, Jack Falls, Goal III, City Rats, Cass, Sucker Punch (2008), Eastern Promises, The Business, The Football Factory, The Calcium Kid