Apparently starring in terrible VOD genre movies is becoming a family business, because both Nicolas Cage’s son and his nephew show up in Get Gone, a laughably inept horror movie with a plot ripped right out of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and their dozens of imitators, delivered without any suspense and (perhaps most egregiously for this kind of movie) virtually no onscreen blood and guts. The Cage cousins, Weston Cage Coppola and Bailey Coppola, play the sons in a Leatherface-style clan living in the Oregon woods, led by frail patriarch Don Maxwell (Robert Miano) and his sharp-tongued, clearly unhinged wife (horror icon Lin Shaye, the only cast member who seems like she knows what she’s doing).
The Maxwells have been living undisturbed in the forest for years, apparently, but now the land has been sold to an energy company, and they’re being forced out to make way for fracking drills. Although local forest ranger Rico (Rico E. Anderson) is sympathetic to their plight, the Maxwells won’t listen to him, and their solution is to brutally murder all of the employees who show up on the land just trying to do their jobs. It’s not easy for a movie to get the audience to root for fracking, but there’s nothing sympathetic about the Maxwells once they start killing people, especially since they quickly move on from the drillers to a bunch of hapless hikers who have nothing to do with the fracking at all.
Those hikers open the movie with a cheap fake-out that involves their plan to expose urban-legend hoaxes, but the nature of their work is unclear, and while there are a lot of references to the Maxwells as the topic of local rumors, the characters aren’t actually in the woods to expose the legend of the Maxwells. Instead, they are on a team-building retreat led by an irritatingly chipper guide (Adam Bitterman), but the reasoning behind the entire exercise is never explained. Do these people work for a hoax-exposing company? How does that business model function? Writer-director Michael Thomas Daniel provides just enough back story to make things more confusing, without adding anything to narrative or character development.
Whatever reason they have for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the hikers are really just there to increase the body count, although Daniel shoots almost all of the kills from obscured angles, like the movie’s budget ran out before they had the money for fake blood. In the only scene with any kind of gore, a character lies next to a wall that looks like it was splattered with red paint, so maybe leaving that stuff offscreen was the best idea after all. Horror movies can be scary and suspenseful without being explicit, but nothing about Get Gone is tense or disturbing in any way. The Maxwells are seen clearly and often, and have plenty of dialogue, so there’s nothing mysterious or unsettling to discover about them.
Sons Patton and Apple supposedly suffer from a condition that renders them freakish albinos (hence their prevalence in local lore), but the Coppolas are covered with ridiculous white makeup that makes them look like the members of a redneck goth-metal band, not dangerous mutants. Weston Cage Coppola has inherited a bit of his dad’s penchant for bug-eyed overacting, but he doesn’t have the same level of charisma needed to make oddball line readings charming rather than irritating. Of course, Daniel’s dreadful script doesn’t help him any: All of the actors are saddled with clunky dialogue, including some particularly cringe-inducing attempts at sexual harassment-related comic relief.
Apple wears a white mask with a sinister smile carved into it that’s clearly meant to establish him as the bargain-basement Jason Voorhees or Leatherface, but like everything else in Get Gone, it’s a haphazard imitation of more memorable horror movies. The fracking angle hints at a level of social commentary that could have added some valuable subtext to an otherwise formulaic story, but Get Gone isn’t remotely coherent enough to espouse a compelling point of view. Not even Nicolas Cage himself could save this one.