Stumbling upon $8 million dollars in stolen currency on a wilderness trip doesn’t turn out so well for three young friends — surprise! — in “Blood Money.” It’s not particularly plausible placing bratty 20-year-olds in classic noirish circumstances of greed and betrayal, with John Cusack more weird than menacing as the criminal they’ve unwittingly tangled with. But this open-air thriller is decently crafted by director Lucky McKee (whose prior films have landed closer to horror terrain), and it eventually summons up enough seriocomic neo-noir perversity to comprise a fun, semi-guilt-free ride. Saban Films is opening the movie on 10 screens nationwide Oct. 13, simultaneously with Liongate’s VOD release.
After a first year of college, Lynn (Willa Fitzgerald), Jeff (Jacob Artist) and Victor (Ellar Coltrane) reunite for an annual rafting/camping trip. Actually, not everyone got some higher education —while track star Lynn won an athletic scholarship, and brash, brawny Jeff’s wealthy family footed his tuition bill, Victor labored for minimum wage in the small town where they’ve known each other since childhood. Sensitive Vic also has lingering issues around his terminated high school romance with Lynn. These are exacerbated when it turns out his ex-girlfriend and his best friend have since become an item.
Meanwhile, white-collar embezzler Miller (Cusack) is fleeing authorities via the small plane he abandons to crash in the forest as he parachutes down with four heavy duffel bags of loot. He lands in one place, they in another — on a riverbank, where Lynn happens to find them on her morning run after a night of drunken three-way arguments. As in noirs of yore, this hitherto ordinary all-American lass immediately develops blinding, mercenary dollar signs in her eyes upon glimpsing a potential major personal gain, and is soon willing to sacrifice anyone in her path.
This sort of thing worked better when it was played by the…