Release Date: September 9, 2016
Directors: Jon Cassar
Writer: Jack Olsen
Cast: Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Romany Malco, Michael Kenneth Williams, Glenn Morshower, Theo Rossi, Jaz Sinclair, GiGi Erneta, Tom Nowicki, Denise Gossett, Janee Michelle, Carrie Lazar, Ariadne Joseph, Matthew M. Mitchell, Maurice Johnson, John Folse
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes
Production Company: Screen Gems, Unique Features, Sony Pictures Releasing
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)
The fall season of films is upon us, and Screen Gems still decides that if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. You can’t blame them either. They’re known for the lower budget releases with lower risks and higher chances of a return. The studio has a wide range of audiences that it tries to reach throughout the year, though at this point it seems like more of the same thing with the romantic, obsessed, crazed stalker vibe flick. More of the same can be a great thing, as long as it’s not a clone of what came before. The plot of this film is nothing new, with similarities to Fatal Attraction and a number of other films. Though with the cast and plot that’s involved, it’s still an entertaining thriller that may exceed expectations.
You wouldn’t be alone if you assumed that the intro of the film would be filled with open credits and shots of the suburbs showing residents jogging early in the morning being as friendly as can be. That’s not the case this time, and the plot dives right in with the issue at hand. Laura Taylor (Regina Hall) wants to have a baby, can’t have one, but is eager not to give up. As she finds her a surrogate in Anna Walsh (Jaz Sinclair) things begin to unfold in ways you wouldn’t have anticipated. Jaz Sinclair is new to the big screen, and if she keeps this up she’ll be one of the greats. Her casting was perfect as the innocent girl next door with deep rooted problems that still haunts her today. It’s amazing how someone’s smile can be so sweet that it’ll make you melt, but also be a warning sign of true terror and rage that they possess under the surface. Everyone is a product of their environment, and she is a textbook example. John (Morris Chestnut) is a strong, responsible husband that can do no wrong. And the relationship he had with his wife, Laura, was beautiful; containing the ideals any couple may strive for. Their love felt real and true, which elevated the plot towards the end of the film.
Surprisingly enough, the plot isn’t as predictable as one may believe. You’re behind all the characters, and even the foes have their time to shine. Not being front and center, Mike Mitchell’s (Theo Rossi) character sure did stand out in a phenomenal way. He was very convincing as the abusive boyfriend that posed a worthy threat. I wasn’t sure if he was going to succeed or not, which is a bonus in addition to the good time I was already having. His part in the film was perfect due to the performance, and it was a necessary plot device to keep the audience members on their toes. There’s no magical mystery to be solved, but he did perform well for his role in the project.
With this being a dramatic mystery, there are still a number of genuine moments that aren’t aimed at being funny and still make you laugh. It engaged the audience together, making the experience that more worthwhile. There isn’t much to complain about other than a few missteps towards the end. As events get revved up every character doesn’t show enough focus and urgency as they should. It’s a small oversight that can be over looked, but it does chop away at the great precision that came before.
When the Bough Breaks is nothing new, and you may feel you’ve seen this type of film one hundred times before. Though that doesn’t mean it still can’t be quality entertainment. It’s obvious to me that’s what the studio was going for, and they succeeded in my opinion. Grabbing an unfamiliar director to most, like Jon Cassar (Forsaken), was a smart move that it appears will pay off. The same cycle of plots can repeat itself as it did here, but the different perspective is appreciated and can reach a new audience. It’s a great film that can be viewed in a number of different environments, and while not completely fresh the effort put in is still apparent.