“There is more to relationships than pressing buttons.”
This line from the opening of The Mooring is the very first thing that struck me in this film. From here, however, it became very confusing. Not because the plot itself is contradictory or unclear, it’s more because for the 90 minute running time, it induces a confusion of if the film is good or not. The Mooring starts with a group of normal teenage girls who love their technology being sent on a retreat on a boat into nature. They have caused accidents due to talking while driving, blown up their parents cell phone bills, and cyber bullied. The great thing about this scenario is that the actresses look exactly like their characters should. They are not Hollywood by any means. This immediately adds a sense of dread to the events to come. A nutcase couple of drifters pull their own boat next to the girls and their counselor and immediately begin to harass them. Over the next day, the girls are picked off one by one in a very real and cruel manner.
Confusion grows while watching The Mooring because of the meandering nature of the film. We know that these girls more than likely won’t survive as they succumb to the elements, things left in the woods (of course a bear trap would be involved), the drifters themselves, and so on and so forth. However, there are moments we think they can make it, and we’re rooting for them to run and survive. This adds a sense of greatness to this simple little movie. But there are certain things, including elements of the special features of the DVD, that drive me off into confusion yet again.
First off, the film is directed by Glenn Withrow who co-wrote the movie with his daughter Ivy, and lead actress Hallie Todd. While this isn’t a shameful thing, as the three boast about how amazing the movie is on the ‘Making Of’ featurette, it makes it a bit uneasy. Most of the time filmmakers are modest in their interviews for these features, but here they are all about selling not just the movie but themselves. Ivy is even seen playing violin for the score in the special feature as well. The soundtrack and the scoring is actually one of the most confusing elements of The Mooring. The music simply doesn’t fit at times then at others it’s incredibly perfect.
The Making Of The Mooring is the only special feature on the disc besides a trailer. Yet there is a certain element to this DVD which makes me weary. The artwork shows one of the girls being hunted down by drifter Richard, who is poised, ready to kill her with girlfriend Mickey looking emotionless over the situation. The cover reminds me too much of countless DVDs that are out there, selling a movie they simply aren’t. The Mooring is, as exactly stated in the making of, an ode to movies like Deliverance - not a torture porn movie – which is what the cover and even the description look like. I was hesitant to watch it due to this. Also, the tagline, “Missing Persons Don’t Just Vanish.” is confusing. How does this exactly fit into the film? Ultimately in the end, it does…sort of. Still, for advertising the movie it really is, it doesn’t fully work and, in the end, I think all of it damages what could be a great movie.
Side note, killer drifter, Richard, is played by Thomas Wilson Brown who was oldest brother, Russ, in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I found this out after watching the movie, which I think was a good thing, because knowing it now, I would’ve never taken him seriously. And he did a pretty damn good job. All of the actors did – especially Brooklyn Tate who played Mickey, Richard’s psycho girlfriend. She was downright convincing in her role.
If you think The Mooring is going to be what the packaging portrays, you’ll be severely disappointed. While it isn’t a perfect movie, if one goes into it with the right view of what it is, it’s entertaining.
DVD Score: 5/10