The Passage

"The Passage" suggests naive English-speaking visitors to exotic lands may find their body parts more in demand than dollars by duplicitous locals.

With:
With: Stephen Dorff, Neil Jackson, Sarai Givaty, Khalid Benchegra, Abdel Ghani Benizza.

Like “Hostel” and “Turistas,” “The Passage” suggests naive English-speaking visitors to exotic lands may find their body parts more in demand than dollars by duplicitous locals. Unlike those flat-out horror pics, however, this cautionary tale has just a couple of victims, scant onscreen violence and no gore or T&A. One would presume, then, the pic has something more on its mind. But lacking plot, character or stylistic novelty to compensate for this absent chills, this trip proves unnecessary — and noncommercial.

Stephen Dorff plays Luke, a quiet American seeing Morocco with party-hearty Brit pal Adam (Neil Jackson). Luke visits historical sites and mingles with everyday people, meeting beauteous, English-fluent Zahra (Sarai Givaty). She offers to be his guide to a distant mountain village. Once there, the duo are mysteriously refused hotel lodging. Sheltered instead in an empty hut, Luke discovers it’s linked with others via mazelike tunnels in the pic’s one moderately suspenseful (if awfully dimly lit) sequence. Perfs and tech aspects are decent, debutante Mark Heller’s direction OK. But the undernourished story penned by thesp-turned-scenarist Jackson isn’t scary, eventful or enigmatic enough to seem worth the bother.

The Passage

Production: A Silverwood Films production. Produced by Lynette Howell, Jeremy Kipp Walker. Executive producer, Doug Dey. Directed by Mark Heller. Screenplay, Neil Jackson.

Crew: Camera (color), Jim Denault; editor, Jonathan Del Gatto; music, Timothy Williams; production designer, Maria Altschuler. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 10, 2007. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Stephen Dorff, Neil Jackson, Sarai Givaty, Khalid Benchegra, Abdel Ghani Benizza.

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