There is a spoiler paragraph regarding Aaron Paul’s role in this movie at the very end of this review.
Without the presence of Emmy winner Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), a wee-budget indie flick like Wreckage would easily slip under the radar, completely unnoticed. Frankly, it’s just not that great of a movie. But Bad‘s fans are rabid in their loyalty, and while Paul’s presence in Wreckage may result in some easy cash for the releasing studio, it can’t possibly improve on the mediocrity of this amateurish horror-drama.
In what bears a striking resemblance to the opening moments of Halloween, Wreckage begins as a young child murdering his mother and her boyfriend, and follows up with his subsequent escape from prison 15 years later. Roll opening credits. And by the way, everybody, it may be in your best interest to remember all of this escaped convict shit. Store that in your memory banks somewhere. In the case of Wreckage, it may not come up for again for awhile. But we’ll get back to that.
Most of the film takes place in a desolate junkyard, as a foursome of adults search for a replacement fan belt for their busted car. Jared and Kate are recently engaged, with wrench-monkey Jared having just proposed by sliding an engagement ring down a wiped-down dipstick. It was super romantic, you‘ll have to take my word for it. Best buddy Aaron Paul and his whiny girlfriend Jessica are along for the ride, but they don’t have it so good…she’s pregnant and he’s obviously not happy about it. Aaron Paul shines during his 20 minutes of screen time in the second act, scaring the shit out of the girls with scary junkyard stories, and just holding the screen, in general. Bored, Paul eventually pulls out a piece and starts squeezing off shots, accidentally plugging Kate with a ricochet, which results in a general panic. Jared is forced to run to town for help, but when he returns to the junkyard with the sheriff and deputies…there’s nobody there.
Although it has its share of intriguing moments, Wreckage is all too happy to pile on the red herrings with reckless abandon. Assloads of screen time are devoted to the antics of an uber-nerdy junkyard employee, as well as the bumbling inner workings of the local sheriff’s department, with the central plot taking a back seat to reams and reams of padding. After Jessica’s dead body is discovered hanging bloodily from an overhead junkyard light, everyone from boyfriend Jared, to Aaron Paul, to the goofy-ass junkyard employee serve as easy suspects, and this is the moment a random deputy decides to remind the audience of all that prologue bullshit: “Sheriff, don’t forget! We’ve got an escaped convict on the loose!”
With so many different plots going on at once, it’s amazing that Wreckage is so damned slow. It seems capable of cranking along on the strength of its complex plotting, but instead it chooses to introduce a new idea, and then either smother it into the ground or abandon it entirely. The villain, clad in an enormous welder’s mask, kills too rarely to be memorable as a separate character. Nothing really clicks here. It’s like three boring movies in one.
[Monster Spoiler: After being absent from the last half of the film, Aaron Paul returns after the climax, in an extended final sequence where it is revealed that he was the killer all along. Although this revelation doesn’t make the film any better, it may make it more appealing to die-hard Aaron Paul fans.]