A driver (Lizzie Zerebko) picks up a mysterious passenger (Michael Olavson) on a fateful night in Endangered.
A ride-share driver embarks on a dark odyssey after picking up a mysterious passenger. Endangered is a taut, noir thriller loaded with surprising twists. What begins as a straightforward narrative deviates into truly unexpected territory. The lean runtime keeps adrenaline flowing by avoiding excess. There’s no fat or fluff to hamper the pace. Everything you see and hear, literally the tiniest details, are significant to the developing plot. Endangered reminds to take nothing for granted when dealing with a stranger. The assumption of truth can lead to dangerous consequences.
Set in Orlando, Florida, Alison Meyers (Lizzie Zerebko) struggles to make ends meet. She works as a Backseat app driver while fruitlessly searching for a job in her profession. The former architect can’t get her foot in the door. She gives every annoying customer a five-star rating with hopes for a better tip. Alison makes a fateful decision to pick up Neil (JR Ridge) as her last ride of the night.
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Alison arrives at a seedy motel. The passenger (Michael Olavson) waiting definitely isn’t Neil. She tells him that he doesn’t match the picture. The passenger calmly replies that Neil scheduled the ride. Alison calls Neil to no avail. She’s wary but needs every penny. Alison decides to ignore her instincts and take the brooding passenger to his destination. Meanwhile, Detective Hartford (Ryan Forrestal) methodically visits local pawn shops. He’s looking for the missing valuables in an unsolved murder. Alison notices the passenger carries a large black bag. She can’t help but peek inside when he requests a quick stop.
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Risks in Endangered
Endangered doesn’t gloss over the inherent risks Alison faces. She’s an attractive woman driving alone. Anyone she picks up can be a threat. Alison doesn’t want to put herself in a bad situation. The lure of extra cash is powerful motivation to someone scraping by. The filmmakers handle this scene with sharp non-verbal cues. The camera focuses on her face as she weighs whether to accept the ride. Who hasn’t ignored their gut feelings when faced with a momentary decision? The notion that everything will be fine gives a false sense of security and confidence.
The film’s noir aspects are smartly done to cultivate a sense of ongoing dread. Alison drives down desolate streets into the black night. She sees the passenger in her rearview mirror until they become more engaged. Alison can’t take her eyes off the road, but she always has to watch the passenger. The cinematography changes to neon red when blood enters the picture. There’s a visceral change in tone as violent events take place outside of the car.
You’ll snap to attention as the first twist blindsides. Let’s just say that Alison and her passenger encounter several bumps in the road. They become intertwined as the simple drive escalates into something else. Their back and forth slowly sheds light on differing agendas. The passenger’s perspective comes into play as the plot thickens. Endangered establishes its premise then throws a barrage of wicked curveballs. Screenwriters Adam Armstrong and Marcus Devivo will have you guessing until a staggering reveal.
Endangered was previously titled Fox Hunt Drive during its film festival debut. It is a production of REBL HQ with a VOD premiere on July 26th.