‘Still’ Movie Review: An Interesting Premise, but Poor Execution
Overall this movie was an easy watch, but by no means a worthwhile watch.
February 19, 2021
This movie review contains spoilers.
Director Takashi Doscher’s fantasy mystery film “Still” was released in 2018 and stars Lydia Wilson, Nick Blood, and Madeline Brewer. I was admittedly intrigued with the premise of this movie when it crossed my Hulu recommendations: a young hiker stumbles upon an off-the-grid couple with a big secret. As an amateur hiker myself, I was pulled in and couldn’t wait for a story that may leave me looking over my shoulder on my next hike. Needless to say I will not be unnecessarily nervous at every turn on my next adventure.
The movie starts by setting up two of the main characters, Adam and Ella- presumably a husband and wife- as outsiders living beyond society somewhere along the Appalachian Trail. We see them lure two lost hikers to their home only to get rid of them in one way or the other. The way it’s set up, we can assume the two hikers were killed by the husband without the wife’s consent or approval. I was intrigued at this, I assumed that the two were serial killers and the secret to their survival in their off-the-grid lifestyle was luring lost hikers to their home to kill them.
We then meet the other main character of the film, Lily, who is shown as having some illness that is presumably fatal and to escape her slow death amongst society, she decides to hike into the Appalachian Trail for a reason that is not entirely clear. Lily in her weakness collapses along her way and is taken in by Ella. From here on the plot gets a bit messy.
Ella tries to defend Lily with Adam and Adam gives in quite easily, which is opposite of what we saw in the beginning with the other hikers the wife lured in. Adam ends up getting drawn to Lily and shows her one of their secrets. This secret involved two large barrels which created a drink of some kind. I thought that this was it, this was where Lily discovered that these two people are serial killers and in the barrels were the other two hikers. I thought this was going to be a disturbing revelation that the two drank whatever they were draining from the people they killed. I was disappointed to discover that it was just moonshine they were making. Adam discussed it like it was the most important thing on the planet and yet it was an almost irrelevant part of the plot.
This point was equally as irrelevant as the love triangle between the three characters. Lily had no reason to trust the couple, yet sleeping with the both of them on the second night she was with them seemed to be fine with her.
Ella is suddenly ready to reveal the real big secret to Lily, but Adam discovers this and attempts to stop Ella by shooting Lily and making Ella watch her die. I immediately knew the secret: Ella and Adam stumbled across a fountain of youth of some sort. And sure enough, Ella used the water to bring Lily back to life, but only after we are thrown into Ella and Adam’s history.
In their history we learn that Ella paid Adam to help her escape her father and while they were on the run they stumbled upon the cave that holds the healing water and the house that they live in currently. In a chase between Ella’s father and the couple Adam is shot, so Ella gets Adam some water from the cave, unaware of its healing power.
In this flashback, we get shown a different side of Adam, one that is nowhere near the Adam of the present day. There is never a real explanation of why Adam is so temperamental in the present day, we can only assume he grew angrier with each passing year. The one thing we know for sure is that he loves Ella and doesn’t want to give up their life of solitude and bliss.
Back to the present day, Ella decides she wants to leave Adam and go with Lily. For reasons unknown Adam agrees to this, driving Ella and Lily to the head of the trail, where they camp out for the night. When Ella and Lily arrive at a hiker’s lodge to eat before going their separate ways, Ella collapses and begins to age rapidly. At that exact time Adam finds out that if one is to stop drinking the water, the benefits said person received would wear off and since Ella and Adam used the water to stay young, he realizes that Ella would soon age. Adam rushes to Ella’s side with a bottle of the healing water. By the time he arrives, she is grey and old, but one sip of the water reverses her aging and Adam carries her back to their house. Lily follows with two male companions she was dining with at the lodge.
Adam decides that he will now be the one to leave, making his exit while Ella rests. When Ella awakes she follows Adam into the woods, somehow knowing exactly where he went. Lily watches Ella leave and decides to shoot her two male companions from the lodge, for no clear reason. That was the end of Lily’s story and we can only assume she decided she was going to stay alone at the house as she doesn’t go after Ella and Adam. Ella and Adam end up growing old rapidly together and dying.
That is how the story ends, revealing more questions than it answers. The premise of the movie had a lot going for it, but the execution of the movie left a lot to be desired. As for the diversity of the film, there really was none; every character except for one minor character, who was killed off almost immediately after he was introduced, was white. Overall the movie was an easy watch, but by no means a worthwhile watch.