I Have No Idea What the Title Means in Relation to the Plot

Main Cast: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzen

Director: Mathieu Turi

Man, the power of a credit on IMDB!  When I looked up Mathieu Turi, his credits included his 2020 movie MEANDER, HOSTILE (2017). And INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009).  Hey, that’s a Quentin Tarantino movie!  He worked on that?  I have to look and see what he did on it.





Oh, there it is.  He was an uncredited Additional Assistant Director.

Oh, okay.  Well, that’s not quite as impressive.  I mean, he worked on a Tarantino movie, so he’s a lot closer than I’ll ever be to Hollywood, but it was also my least favorite Tarantino movie, so what else you got?

Enter MEANDER, which Turi actually wrote and directed (along with three other movies he wrote and directed, SONS OF CHAOS in 2010, BROKEN in 2012, and, as previously stated, HOSTILE in 2017, but we’ll go with the uncredited credit…).

I’ve had this one on my Amazon Prime watchlist probably since it came out.  The description was right up my alley, and gave me definite CUBE vibes, and that’s a movie I love so much I stole the concept for my novel HOUSEQUAKE.  Unlike CUBE, MEANDER gave me definite claustrophobic vibes, so it sat on that list for a long time until I had an afternoon with nothing to do and Amazon Prime was next on my list of streamers to watch a movie from.

MEANDER is about Lisa (Gaia Weiss, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES), who is lost on the road until she’s picked up by Adam (Peter Franzen, The Wheel of Time) who turns out to be an escaped prisoner.  Just as Lisa realizes this, thanks to the cross tattoo on his right hand, Adam slams on the breaks, knocks Lisa into the dashboard, and when she wakes up, she’s in a small room with a large, glowing metal contraption clamped to her wrist.

The room has only one way out, a small portal that leads to an equally small tube she has to crawl through.  The tube twists and turns, presents obstacles she has to maneuver, and every eleven minutes (the thing on her wrist also has a counter, counting down every eleven minutes) she has to take refuge in a small cubby as the corridor is flooded with fire.

Soon, I’m thinking of the engineering that had to go into something like this, and while I don’t know anything about Adam, he didn’t seem the mad genius part.  So what’s going on here?

Along the way, she runs into another prisoner, but this one seems to have been here longer than Lisa.  He’s lost his mind and is exceedingly violent toward Lisa, until she sees the tattoo on his hand and realizes this is Adam.

Well, damn, now my only other option for a solution comes from a news report we heard in the very beginning of the movie, and I really don’t want it to be that.

After a struggle to get to the next cubby, Lisa shoves Adam out into the tube where he’s burned alive.  Soon, she’s back in the tubes, trying to figure out where she is, where she’s going, and how she got here.

The answer, in the end, was not as interesting as I’d hoped.  In fact, in any other scenario, I probably would have loved the answer to the question of how she got there, but in this case, I was REALLY hoping for something more sinister.  For MEANDER, though, the solution actually seems like a good thing?  Maybe?  I just didn’t feel that sense of dread and mayhem I got from my first viewing of CUBE.  What started as a science fiction horror movie was, in the end, mostly just a science fiction movie … with a couple of horror moments scattered throughout, I guess.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a good movie, I was captivated for the entire 90-some minutes.

Weiss and Franzen are the bulk of the cast (only one other onscreen appearance, but that’s a spoiler) with Weiss carrying about 99% of the movie herself.  And with very minimal dialogue, so she’s really doing ALL the heavy lifting here.  And she does it with ease, it appears.

Granted, for the most part, all she has to do is squeeze herself through some pretty tight fits that would give anyone who can’t stand to be in an MRI tube the cold sweats and look equally terrified, which couldn’t have been hard, but she does it like a pro.

Turi’s concept and execution were very good, giving us a story I can see enjoying in prose form in some themed anthology by one of the horror bigwigs like Lansdale or maybe even Ellison, who regularly blended his sci-fi with his horror.

I don’t see myself revisiting MEANDER any time soon, but the idea of it will sit with me for a while.  I can even see myself finding inspiration here, just thinking about those tubes and trying to squeeze through them with no idea if you’re just scooting yourself close and closer to an even smaller tube, and then how do you backtrack when you can barely even look behind you?  Yeah, this isn’t a movie to watch if tight spaces freak you out.  But I’d still recommend it.

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