Upon writing and re-writing the same sentence several times without achieving the desired results, I realized I just can't dress this statement up. Ready? There's nothing I love more than watching ladies with crazy eyes run around making use of nearby items to a violent end. Gone is just that, where Amanda Seyfried plays a possibly insane Nancy Drew that refuses to stop using firearms and hassling police until she gets answers.
We don't get to see the trauma that Jill (Seyfried) went through in her past, but we know it must be something big, because she almost kills her self-defense instructor during a workout, slings coffee at an all night diner, and looks really nervous all the time. When her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) isn't in her bed one morning as Jill arrives home, she is convinced she has been kidnapped by the same man who attacked her and threw her in a hole in the woods recently. She escaped physically, but mentally is still very much a prisoner, and never lets the police forget it whenever a local girl goes missing. Since they are reluctant to take the word of a girl whose eyes take up half her face and are always wide open and filled with rage, she must leave no stone unturned in Portland until she finds Molly safe and sound.
Although the movie doesn't stir up the fervor that I Spit on Your Grave or Kill Bill does, Amanda Seyfried at least holds her own as a Woman on a Mission. Since we can only learn about her experience from her flashbacks, we have to focus on the here and now, which involves a lot of gunplay and crazy driving. Also fun to watch is Jill's particularly adept lying skills, which she uses to manipulate people into telling her exactly what she needs to know while still looking every bit the ingenue.
(Minor spoilers follow) Since we're focusing on ladies here, and my estrogen is beginning to stir, I feel safe admitting that I did end up feeling a little betrayed at the end. The movie builds steadily, amping up for what could be a really strong, brutal climax, but ends up meaning much less because of the only ho-hum choice made in the entire film. Even a Grindhouse-esque attempt at a quick recovery failed to win back my heart, which left me feeling more abandoned than a girl in a hole in the woods.