Spoilers ask you to imagine if you will.
I have a weakness for psychological thrillers and this one is a bit of hidden gem. You’ll either be unable to get past the twist reveal or you’ll adapt, but either way it’s one that should be watched to be believed. The whole scenario of having ten people stuck in one place with one of them being a killer has being remade several times since Agatha Christie, and this one will invite comparisons until things take a turn into eerie territory.
Imagine (2003) was directed by James Mangold from a screenplay by Michael Cooney. Edward (John Cusack) is a limo driver transporting actress Caroline (Rebecca DeMornay) in the middle of a storm when he runs into a woman standing in the middle of the road. She’s Alice York (Leila Kenzie) who’s traveling with her husband George (John C. McGinley) and her son Timmy. Trying to get her help, Ed drives them to a nearby motel run by Larry (John Hawkes) where the phones are down.
After leaving them there, he tries to get to the nearby hospital but runs into a flooded road and a stranded woman named Paris (Amanda Peet). Unable to cross the river, they both hitch a ride with newlywed couple Ginny (Clea DuVall) and Lou (William Lee Scott) to get back to the motel. Larry ends up giving everyone a room while the storm passes. Things however get even weirder when correctional officer Rhodes (Ray Liotta) appears, transporting a dangerous criminal accused of multiple homicides named Maine (Jake Busey).
You probably guess how the scenario is going to play out. They’re all trapped. They cannot leave the motel until the storm passes. Larry is plain hostile to Paris, due to her being a call girl. Ginny and Lou couldn’t be more awkward to each other. Caroline runs into trouble. Rhodes loses his prisoner. Somewhere in other place, lawyers are meeting a judge to talk about a dangerous individual with the presence of psychiatrist Dr. Malick (Alfred Molina).
Discovering how all these things are tied together and making all the pieces fit is the game this movie plays. The fact that the people in the motel are not there by coincidence, how they are connected to each other and why we’re witnessing the meeting with the judge all have an explanation. It does fit but it does require a lot of imagination. Because of that, you’ll either love it or hate it, which is the crux of the whole film. If you’re the kind of person that wants to believe that everything you’re watching is fact, then you might want to pass on this film. That’s too bad, but it’s your choice.
Extremely recommended for fans of thrillers with a little eerie twist. I would say this one is a solid watch for those fans who don’t mind a little figurative interpretation. I would even dare say there’s some subversion of the whole people-trapped-in-location scenario. If you are willing to accept the movie’s premise you’ll still be entertained through the third act. Otherwise, you’d be better off dodging this one. If you’re on the fence, give it a chance. It’s a killer of a twist.
That will do for now.