River Wild (2023) Review



River Wild may lack the star power of the 1994 original but this is still a massively entertaining action thriller with some genuinely tense moments and an effectively chilling performance from Adam Brody.

Plot: Joey fears there could be trouble ahead after her brother invites a childhood friend with a troubled past on their whitewater rafting adventure. When they become stranded in raging rapids, the thrill-seeking trip quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival as someone seems intent on sabotage to ensure shocking secrets stay buried.

Review: I remember seeing The River Wild when it came out in theatres way back in 1994; I don’t think I’ve actually watched it since but I remember it being an entertaining action thriller with a fantastic cast that includes Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon and David Strathairn. To be honest, I had no idea it was even getting the remake treatment until I saw the trailer recently (now just called River Wild).

Normally I would sigh and ask “why bother?” but I’m pretty sure nobody under 30 will have watched the original film and this is suitably different to stand on its own two feet. It doesn’t quite have the same star power as the original film but I thought the performances were solid all round with Adam Brody surprisingly effective as the psychotic Jake and Leighton Meester as our protagonist Joey. At first she isn’t especially likeable or sympathetic but we do find out why later on which explains everything.

It builds up slowly establishing the characters and it doesn’t take long for us to realize Jake isn’t a nice guy and things rapidly spiral out of control. In terms of action we get several fight scenes, chases and just sheer tension, so you’ll only use the edge of your seat.

I have to give it to the cast and crew of this movie; it looked like everything was done practically with the rapids scenes suitably thrilling and terrifying. The film gets exceptionally tense and you’re never quite sure just who’s going to be alive by the end.

This is one of Adam Brody’s best ever roles and it’s light-years away from The O.C., so it’s nice to see him branch out and do something unexpected.

Overall, River Wild is its own beast and shouldn’t be compared to the original with Adam Brody chillingly effective as Jake and some nail bitingly tense scenes. It’s one of the better remakes/reboots I’ve seen and definitely worth a watch.