A year after escaping from a serial killer in the Oregon forests, nervy waitress Jill (Amanda Seyfried) comes home to find her student sister Molly has disappeared. She is convinced that her abductor has returned to finish the job - but taken Molly instead. But as with her original story, the police think it's all in her mind. With time and the law against her, Jill has no choice but to track down the fiend alone... or Molly may not live to see another dawn.
If a movie calls for a fair maiden to be terrorized by a skulking beast in the woods, Amanda Seyfried seems to be the distressed damsel du jour. Indeed, this glossy looking suspenser even boasts a character called Hood.
Alas, while giving the saucer-eyed star the chance to show her action chops after making her name in romantic noodles from Mamma Mia to Letters To Juliet, Gone is no less far-fetched than the deliberately fanciful Red Riding Hood.
She is Jill Parrish, a jittery Portland waitress who has an understandable mistrust of men after being abducted and cast into a bone-filled hole deep in the nearby forest by an unseen assailant. Evidently, she escaped.
That was a year ago. her younger sister Molly (Gossip Girl's Emily Wickersham) But, while still determined to trace the killer, Jill is mortified to come home after a night shift to find Molly gone.
Jill is convinced that her tormentor is back and that he intends to succeed with Molly where he failed before. Unfortunately, between Molly's drink problem and Jill's spotty psychiatric record, the cops think Jill is just being paranoid. Again.
Waving a gun around doesn't help her case, but it does keep the police on her tail as she trawls the sea of red herrings to rescue her imperilled sis.
Yes, this is one of those implausible missions where all men are creepy - neighbours, locksmiths, janitors, even the aforementioned Detective Hood (the downwardly mobile Wes Bentley in his most redundant role yet) - and all witnesses, friendly and otherwise, divulge exactly the right information at exactly the right time. Usually about three seconds before the cops arrive.
Despite clinging to the supremely taut shirt-tails of Harrison Ford's classic "nobody believes me" duo Frantic and The Fugitive, director Heitor Dhalia and Fame writer Allison Burnett (who's a he) leave no corner uncut.
The shortfall of suspense is emphasised with every pointless car chase, head-slapping contrivance, and attempt at tongue-in-cheekiness. This movie can seriously damage your IQ.
To make this kind of thing work requires a protagonist with gravitas and a villain of relentless cunning. Gone has Amanda Seyfried and some guy suffering from chronic, nay terminal, stupidity.
Paging Dr Kimble...