Presumably hoping to broaden his acting credibility beyond roles like Rick Flag and RoboCop, Joel Kinnaman gamely plays an awkward single dad in this drama conveniently opening opposite Suicide Squad. It's a gambit that almost works; for the film's first half, we watch his irresponsible lumberjack take the two kids (new Spider-Man Tom Holland and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’s excellent Percy Hynes White) out into a wintry wilderness to shoot guns, taste beer and attempt to drive an SUV. An inevitable accident strands them, and anyone who saw The Revenant will automatically get tense wondering how these boys are going to survive — and whether or not their father can redeem himself en route to becoming a worthy protector.
Alas, the plot takes a sudden and sophomoric turn about halfway through that Kinnaman, with his decent thespian chops, can't quite pull off, though he tries mightily. Director Rob Connolly may well think he's upping the stakes by plunging his film into borderline horror territory, but in fact he's minimizing them. The harsh environment that was such a threat before recedes in our minds as cheesy showdowns that proceed far more predictably than we were initially cued to expect move to the fore. The movie's current title (it was previously known as Backcountry) is ultimately telling — the story gives great winter, but the forced attempts at "edge" would feel cliché in a high-school creative-writing class.