Alone on campus over the Thanksgiving break, Justine Wills (Haley Bennett) soon finds herself fighting for her life after a chance encounter at a petrol station.
So, here’s the thing about Random: I feel like I’m being extra tough on it, because my expectations were raised in the beginning, and what I got in the end was…a perfectly serviceable slasher/home invasion film.
Why were my expectations raised? Well, there were a couple of factors at play.
First and foremost, I felt like Haley Bennett’s character was fleshed out in a way that made her realistic. She wasn’t glammed up, or the typical innocent virgin; she was smart (studying science, no less), looked like an actual college student (which is to say that she spent most of her time with unbrushed hair, and wearing sweatpants (and I’m allowed to say students look like that, because I am one. So, there.)), and displayed a level of emotional complexity that made her recognisable as an actual person, not just a 2-dimensional character.
Secondly, I felt like the movie did a good job of establishing that oh-so-important element of the familiar-turned-unfamiliar. College (note: I’m fighting the urge to type “university,” here) campuses are big and bustling places. Taking all of the people out of them immediately makes them these weirdly empty spaces that have a slightly-off feeling to them; and this is something that Random shows off quite well.
And, with these things having been established, I was…a little disappointed to then watch a pretty typical cat-and-mouse chase movie, with predictable jump scares and villains that alternated between omniscient and kinda dumb, as the scene dictated.
Like I said, I don’t think there’s anything particularly bad about Random. It does what it needs to. I just thought it might do more. Particularly in the final scenes, which seem to be little more than an afterthought, and much less dramatic than I would have expected given the build-up to them.
I dunno. S’okay.
* A.k.a. Kristy, Satanic and Satanik, apparently. I’m not even sure that Random is its final name, but that’s what it’s currently called on IMDB.