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- DVD: While She Was Out
- Rating: R
- Starring: Kim Basinger, Lukas Haas, Craig Sheffer
- Written By: Susan Montford
- Directed By: Susan Montford
- Distributor: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2009
- Extras: See Below
While She Was Out
Kim Basinger battles a group of thugs in this new thriller
By Tim Janson
May 05, 2009
Kim Basinger in WHILE SHE WAS OUT(2009).
© Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
While She Was Out will draw comparisons to a similarly plotted film from a decade or so ago called “Judgment Night”. Kim Basinger (still looking incredibly hot) is Della, a housewife and mother to twins. Craig Sheffer is Kenneth, her abusive businessman husband. After a particularly nasty spat before Christmas, Della makes a last minute shopping run to the local mall. Already stressed from the argument, Della is driven to the brink by a crowded mall and one particular car who carelessly took up two parking spots (and who hasn’t been in THAT situation!). She leaves a note on the car’s wipers, chastising the driver but she picked the wrong car to try and make a point.
The car belongs to Chucky (Lukas Haas) and he’s accompanied by his band of hoodlums. They confront Della, blocking her from leaving. When a mall security guard tries to intervene on her behalf, Chucky shoots him in the head. Della uses the confusion to speed off in her SUV with the thugs in pursuit. It goes without saying that her cell phone is dead. First rule of any horror or thriller film is that a cell phone either has no signal or the battery is dead. Della flees to a housing development where new houses are being built. Her only defense is a tool box she’s taken while conveniently leaving her purse behind so the gang can find out her name and address.
Up to this point there isn’t much that makes While She Was Out special in anyway. It brazenly borrows many plot elements from Judgment Night, intended or not. But as Della eventually hides in the nearby woods, a few things begin to take shape. First, Della isn’t your typical female horror film protagonist. She’s older, more mature, and not prone to panic as you usually expect from this type of role. She has a levelheadedness that makes sense and is believable. She doesn’t do anything super heroic to try and survive, she just uses her wits. You can virtually see her transformed and empowered as the film plays out. After the constant years of abuse at the hands of her husband, Della is ready to release a wave of anger and frustration on someone…anyone!
It’s at first hard to imagine Lukas Haas in the role of the villain. This is the cute kid who was in such great 80s films like “Witness” and “The Lady in White”. He still looks too cherubic to be playing a murderous villain. This is where Haas actually shines. If he had played it straightforward he would not be believable. But his character is flawed. Did he shoot the security guard on purpose or was it an accident while he was showing off for his friends? He plays the role with some regret and sorrow and even wants to seemingly make amends with Della.
While She Was Out isn’t the most original thriller plot-wise, but unlike Judgment Night, it has characters who are not cardboard stereotypes and it delivers a heavy punch!
Extras include commentary with writer/director Susan Montford and producer Don Murphy
There is a (25:00) documentary on the making of the film that features interviews with Basinger, Haas, and Sheffer. Haas talks candidly about approaching his role with a little more feeling and depth rather than just playing a typical thug.