Well, THAT was exhausting! We see an American family relocating to an Asian city that is on the Vietnam border. They no sooner arrive when we see a well-executed assassination and a shocking suicide followed immediately by a bloody coup d'etat which throws the city into turmoil. The crisis is magnified as our hero has no idea what is being said; he only reads and speaks English.
Written and directed by John Erick Dowdle with writing assistance by Drew Dowdle, both of whom are making a career out of scaring the piddle out of us ("As Above, So Below"), we could only wish for captions because so much of the dialogue is in frantic whispers as our terrified family tries to communicate in various hiding places. Hand-held camera work adds to the confusion and claustrophobia.
This R-rated movie contains nail-biting suspense, children in peril, extreme brutality and corpses by the score. On the other hand, it has no profanity (the family had a "Swear Jar" back in Texas), no sweaty bodies and only one explosion (although cannon fire deafens them temporarily). I became so exasperated with those whimpering females I wanted to shake them, but their flakiness helped the movie run a full 103 minutes. I recoiled from the clichés near the end, which is too bad because this well-directed movie has a very strong beginning and terrific performances.