Bruce Willis was doing his part for video on demand even before the pandemic made it the norm for watching movies. In recent years, he has cultivated a side gig droning through supporting roles in uninspired thrillers that barely surface in theaters. The latest obscurity is “Survive the Night,” a flabby hunk of meat that the director, Matt Eskandari, hasn’t bothered to season.
Willis plays a retired sheriff who regards his son, Rich (Chad Michael Murray), as a chronic unassertive loser. Rich, a disgraced doctor facing bankruptcy, has taken a job at a countryside clinic and moved with his wife (Lydia Hull) and daughter (Riley Wolfe Rach) to his parents’ farm.
Rich has hardly settled in when two criminal brothers — Jamie (Shea Buckner), a violent hothead, and Matthias (Tyler Jon Olson), the slightly more humane of the pair — trail him from the clinic. Holding the household hostage, the brothers demand that Rich repair Matthias’s leg, badly bleeding after Jamie impulsively held up a gas station.
It’s possible to imagine a tight, suspenseful version of this home invasion chestnut, but “Survive the Night” is paced to run out the clock. Matthias warns Jamie not to kill people, then warns him again. Medical urgency fails to preclude brother-brother and father-son outpourings that only slow things down. And as bored as Willis has looked in recent movies, you can’t expect him to muster interest in a line like “I’ve been with scum like you my whole life. You’re all the same.”
Survive the Night
Rated R. Shooting and suturing. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes. Rent or buy on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.
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