Hey gang, Valkor here. When it comes to selecting the next film to place up on the TOV chopping block, I use three methods: either I look at the box art and go with that, read the synopsis and then dive in, or in the case of this next film "Riddle", I went in using the previous methods and wound up… well read on.
The story of Riddle puts the focus on Holly Teller (Elisabeth Harnois), who is in the town called "Riddle" in search of her brother Nathan (Ryan Malgarini), who went missing three years prior. Nathan went along with a couple of bully types who took him for a ride. And after having an accident in the car, he goes to get cleaned up and is never heard from again. We don't exactly know what happened after Nathan went missing, but we learn through dialogue that the two guys who took him on that ride were from Riddle and the town was run through the rails as the search progressed. Now Holly is back with new evidence that Nathan is in Riddle somewhere, but she gets no assist from the Sheriff (Val Kilmer), who feels her search is unwarranted. But as she continues, seeds of some kind of cover up begin to unravel revealing a past that the town has tried to keep hidden for years.
Riddle has interesting box art featuring the faces of the two stars and that question mark staircase between them; it gives the impression you're about to get into some sick, twisted shit like some kind of game of cat and mouse. And trutheshly? I kinda wish that's what I'd ended up with.
Riddle isn't a terrible film, it simply requires a lot of patience and I'll get to that in the next section. The premise is pretty solid and the mood it creates is just right, as it's dark but not too dark and yet unsettling. The opening, which includes everything leading up to the kidnapping, works well. But after that we enter…
After that, it's kind of a dull mess. If you want to truly enjoy Riddle then you'll need some serious patience because this is one boring film with zero build up, really bad pacing and it's uneventful. It's so bad that I ended up nodding off – all three times I tried to watch this film. I only went back because I thought I missed something important only to find out it was nothing at all really. You know what would have worked to build some tension? If we had actually seen what had happened in Riddle after the kidnapping. We're told of the events, but we never get to see them. And speaking of the town of Riddle, this opens up another box of "what the fuck"? Why not introduce the town in the beginning? When Holly first steps into Riddle, you think it's her first time and that she might have stepped into some Twilight zone shit, but it was always there, so why the creepy yet not so creepy build up when she enters the town?
This old nurse woman in Holly's dream; it's the creepiest image in the entire film.
Riddle has a decent premise but it fails to launch. It's dull, uneven, uneventful thriller, and runs at a snail's pace. But if you're willing to give it a try, the film is available now. But in the end I give Riddle 1.5 out of TOV 5 stars.