The Reel Review


Five people on a river rafting expedition on Idaho’s Kootenai River find themselves in a harrowing nightmare when a tragedy exposes a deadly killer/saboteur in their midst. Leighton Meester, Adam Brody and Taran Killan star in this Netflix crime thriller.

Taran Killam, Adam Brody, Leighton Meester and Olivia Swan in River Wild

The only real similarity between this brainless, throwaway thriller and the 1994 film starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon is that it too is set on a river, involves a criminal trying to flee to the Canadian border, and instead of a husband and wife dealing with both ruthless killers and a troubled marriage, this time it is siblings (Meester and Killam) coping with a not-so-nice ex-felon “friend” (Brody), sporting some spooky head tattoos and an even spookier absence of self-restraint.

Leighton Meester in River Wild

The screenplay by director Ben Ketai (The Strangers: Prey at Night, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days) and Mike Nguyen Le is mind-numbingly silly, with their characters making one shocking and infuriatingly bad decision after the next. Even the spectacular visuals and harrowing river rapids action of the original film are missing here. The actors deserved a better script. Just go rewatch the original.


• Leighton Meester (Country Strong, Gossip Girl) and Adam Brody (The O.C., Shazam!) married in 2014 and have two children.

Cobie Smulders and Taran Killam

• Following sketch comedy stents on Mad TV and Saturday Night Live, Taran Killam has added dramatic roles (12 Years a Slave) to his more typical comic roles. He has two daughters with wife Cobie Smulders (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

• Although set in the U.S., River Wild was filmed in Hungary, Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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