Directed by: Eduardo Rodriguez
The fact that I paid money to watch this film makes me a fool. ‘Stash House’ is abysmal. Yeah, I know the DVD cost me only one English pound, and on my trip to Poundland I was also able to pick up a toothbrush, a pack of folders and a bottle of Palmolive shaving gel. Those three items at least will prove to be useful, and more importantly value for money.
‘Stash House’ is a drab thriller starring Dolph Lundgren. But it doesn’t start out that way; it starts off all dramatic, as a twitchy guy loads a gun. He gets out of his car, walks into a church and staggers up the aisle as a gospel choir sings an uplifting hymn. The man, by this point sweating buckets, staggers into the confession booth. He seeks forgiveness for his sins, but before the Reverend can connect with the man, the man turns the gun to his own head and pulls the trigger. A spray of crimson desecrates a giant wooden crucifix.
A sweet American couple named Emma and David are introduced as love’s young dream. Emma is a vet who cures fluffy bunnies and adorable kittens. David earns his money doing something boring that requires him to wear a suit and provides him a lifetime gym membership. He also has a subscription to Men’s Health and spends more time in the bathroom than Emma does.
David, being a romantic buys them his and hers mountain bikes, he then takes Emma to a house that has a splendid high tech security system. He opens the gate using a modified USB stick and takes Emma for a guided tour. He informs her that it is their little love nest, and he’s got a brilliant deal on the property. Emma gives him a look that says “How come? Did someone die here?”
Close. David stumbles upon millions of dollars’ worth of heroin whilst rummaging around. He stands back, stunned. This is a stash house. There’s also an old man trapped in the basement. I won’t acknowledge the old man because he’s pointless and contributes nothing to the plot.
A bloke called Ray, who at first I think is a cop, but then appears to be either a security guard or a neighbourhood watch patrolman, stops by and welcomes the couple to the area. Their ditzy blonde friend also stops by with a crap house warming gift that Emma is too polite to say that she hates.
At night, after the discovery of the smack stash, the couple decide to leave the house but then Ray pops up again and reveals himself to be an angry bad guy armed with a pistol fitted with a silencer. Dave manages to disarm Ray by pushing the new mountain bikes off of the roof rack onto him. The couple run back into the house. Emma seals them inside the house by accidentally backing into a light switch. Ray gets pissed off and fires a gun several times at a bullet proof window, not realising after the first couple of shots that he is firing at a bullet proof window. Ray spends most of the film shooting, generally missing his intended target and then yelling out in frustration.
Dolph Lundgren arrives and tells the irate Ray that they must keep the couple alive, because the film needs to be stretched out to an hour and a half, and killing them twenty five minutes in would lead to very dire consequences.
After Dolph joins the house warming proceedings the film becomes tedious, as the couple become rather resourceful and ballsy, coping wonderfully well with the stress that comes when dealing with two armed men who just might be Special Forces trained. We learn that David got the house on the cheap because he knew the last owner was involved in drugs, and was the twitchy man who blew his brains out in church. Everything then gets a bit hide and seek as the couple niftily evade their intruders.
Dolph Lundgren has always been dull, one of the worst action heroes from the glory years of Arnie, Sly and co. You could argue he really only excelled in ‘Rocky IV’, when he played a Russian boxer with no personality. Unfortunately he can’t play a sinister villain with no personality, because villains in thrillers require a little pizazz.
When you actors are blander then a carpet sample board, and the director fails to create the necessary nail biting tension, then you know a thriller is destined to fail. ‘Stash House’ must only be purchased if it is intended as a gift for someone you detest immeasurably.