A mother-daughter duo are driving through Texas when the car gets a flat tire, causing the mother, Katrina Ridgeway (Carmen Ejogo), to pull over. While working on the tire, her daughter Clara (Apollonia Pratt) wonders into the barren grounds of the desert and is subsequently bitten by a rattlesnake. The situation is looking very dire until Katrina carries her daughter into a nearby trailer, where a mysterious woman claims that she will be able to help the child, and that a payment will be discussed afterwards. Upon returning to her daughter after fixing the tire, she notices that the rattlesnake bite has completely disappeared. They still go to the hospital however, and it is there that Katrina is approached by yet another mysterious individual, a man in a suit and tie that explains to her that as payment, she will need to kill someone by sunset. The only conditions? The soul must be human, and it must be done on time. Believing him to be crazy, she tells him to leave but he shows her what will happen if she does not comply; her daughter quickly turns blue and looks on the verge of death. That seems to be evidence enough, because Katrina soon thereafter sets out, trying to come up with a plan on how to repay the debt.
First, she sets her sights on an old man that she overheard was already on the verge of dying, but she decides against it–he dies minutes later and her seemingly only chance is gone. By chance, she goes to a bar and is mulling over her situation when a woman walks in, and after a short conversation with the bartender, Katrina figures out that the woman is currently in a relationship where the man treats her badly but she refuses to leave. Katrina follows them to their home so she can remember where it is, and then she goes out to buy a gun, the target being the abuser. For the sake of her daughter, she forces him at gunpoint to drive to the canyon. After a long few minutes of going back and forth, the upper hand switching between the two of them, she finally kills him as he lay bleeding out due to falling as a result of a rattlesnake bite. He becomes another specter, waiting for the next person who needs to repay their debts.
The plot of this movie had a lot of potential, while not being anything revolutionary, it seemed interesting enough. Apart from some scenes that were definitely unnerving, the movie felt bland. The camera angles at times were questionable, making it easy for the audience to focus on insignificant details. The movie moved at a slow pace, and while that can work for some stories–it fell flat for this one. It also left me with a few questions; did the daughter know what her mother had to do? If not, why would they show that she drew a picture seemingly depicting the rules of payment? Was the rattlesnake all a ploy, to force the need for payment? The doctor mentions that Katrina had told him that they were driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Oklahoma, but since she never talks about it, I don’t know if this is true. If it was, why were they leaving? Who was the man that was texting Katrina, that she brushed off? There’s a lot that I still don’t know, but the answers to these questions didn’t seem like anything that would change the plot dramatically, they seemed like facts that were omitted out of lazy writing or this need to create mystery where there was none.
Have you guys seen this one? What did you think of it?