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Film / A Perfect Getaway

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"Come on, nothing bad ever happens in Hawaii, right?"

A Perfect Getaway is about Cliff and Cydney. Cliff and Cydney are newlyweds who have decided to spend their vacation in Hawaii. Then, they find out when they get to a second island that a pair of serial killers— a man and a woman— are on the loose on the islands. They then run into Kale and Cleo, a pair of suspicious hitch-hikers and Nick and Gina, a self-proclaimed "American Jedi" and his girlfriend. All three couples wonder if the other two couples are the killers, all while wandering farther and farther from society and deeper into the jungle...

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Cliff/Rocky and Cydney.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The writers basically punch through the surface of the movie to have two characters, neither of whom have any background in screenwriting, talk as though they're on a writer's retreat, trying to come up with a movie.
  • Becoming the Mask One of Rocky's rules of deception. There is even a scene showing how both Rocky and Cydney practice being the people whose identity they've stole, including mannerisms, accent, and background information on the victims family and friends.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Cliff shoots Nick in the back of the head. Unusually for this trope though, Nick survives (due to the metal plate in his head).
    • Then at the end, Cliff gets taken out by a helicopter sniper this way.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This movie starts out suspenseful, but also very funny. About halfway through, it gets really fucking disturbing.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The CB radios in the Kayak. It's fired in one of the best jump scares in recent years.
    • Also, early on, Nick boasts about having a titanium plate put in his skull due to a head injury. It later on proves instrumental in saving his life from getting shot in the head.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Both Nick and Rocky fit the trope. Nick when it comes to spotting and dealing with danger which he calls "Situational Awareness". And Rocky when it comes to killing, stealing identities, and covering his tracks. The plot twist flashback shows him obsessed with watching forensic crime shows.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nick comes off as a bit of one throughout the first half of the film, with Gina filling the role Cloudcuckoolander's Minder. He is handsome, skilled in the wilderness, and very friendly, but also comes across as odd due to his somewhat exaggerated behavior and (seemingly) outlandish stories about his time in the military. Justified though, in that he likely has some brain damage and/or PTSD from a traumatic brain injury that left him with a metal plate in his head.
  • Deadly Road Trip: Yep, alone in the wilderness with a couple of potential killers.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Rocky and Cydney are actually the villains of the film, the plot twist flashback fills in a lot of background information and shows that Nick and Gina are the true protagonists of the film.
  • Driven by Envy: This gets Cyndey to turn on Rocky in the end, because she longed for a true loving relationship like Nick and Gina, but saw herself stuck with a sociopath who is incapable of such feelings.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The Hawaiian hiking trail is a "perfect getaway" because it's a good vacation. It's also a good place to hide if you had just, say, killed a bunch of people and were trying to escape. Get it?
  • Gorn: The gore was fairly limited to a handful of shots in the last few minutes.
  • Granola Girl: Cleo seems to be one, with her dreadlocks, tattoos and hippy clothes. She's ecstatic about marrying Kale in a Hawaiian grocery store.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Cyndey has a change of heart after she sees how much Nick and Gina really do love each other, in contrast to the screwed up relationship she has with Rocky.
  • Hidden Badass: Played with. Nick boasts about being a highly trained soldier throughout the film, and is clearly a well-build and athletic man. However, Cliff and Cyd both seem to doubt the validity of his stories. Turns out it is completely true.
  • Horrible Honeymoon: The newly-married Cliff and Cydney head to Hawaii for their honeymoon, only to learn there's a Serial Killer on the loose and they might be the next targets. It's played with as it turns out they're the killers and going on a murder spree sounds like a great honeymoon to Cliff - whose real name is Rocky - though Cydney is increasingly ambivalent. It's played straight in the backstory, as Rocky murdered the real Cliff and Cydney while they were on their honeymoon so he and his girlfriend could assume their identities.
  • I Call It "Vera": Nick keeps a tactical trench knife strapped to his ankle, nicknamed Gilligan ("My little buddy.")
  • I Can Change My Beloved: It's implied during the flashback Plot Twist that Cydney believes she can get Rocky to truly fall in love with her with no success. She finally gives up on him during the climax.
  • I Just Want to Be You: The killers' motive.
  • It's All About Me: To the point of solipsistic Nietzche wannabe inducing evil by Rocky.
  • Mugging the Monster: Cliff doesn't believe any of Nick's outlandish stories about his military experience. He is shocked to discover that A) Nick is absolutely the sort of badass he sold himself as and, perhaps more importantly, B) he also has a titanium plate in his skull.
  • No Name Given: After The Reveal, "Cydney"'s real name is never revealed.
  • Not So Similar: When Nick spares Rocky (on the principle of not looking like the killer), the latter confusedly remarks that if he had been in the former's shoes, he would've gone in for the kill. Gina, fed up with Rocky's tendency to assimilate other people (her husband being the latest mark), she kicks him in the head before coldly retorting "Well you ain't him..."
  • Red Herring: Lampshaded, just so the audience won't know who the Red Herring is. Not only are Kale and Cleo Red Herrings, but so are Nick and Gina.
    • There's also the person sneaking around the two couples' camp, who turns out to be the local guy spotted at the beginning when "Cliff" and "Cydney" were buying their permit, who was just trying to deliver the permit "Cliff" left at the store
  • Rewatch Bonus: After The Reveal midway through the film, the first half of it becomes a WHOLE different movie. It complete recontextualizes scenes and conversations between characters to mean something far more sinister.
  • The Reveal: Cliff and Cydney were the couple on the other island. He was a screenwriter, she was his wife. They told some dude named Rocky and his girlfriend all about their lives. Rocky and his girlfriend killed them, stole their identities and are the protagonists.
    • Played with. But Nick genuinely is a badass. While its still unclear about how much of the stories he told Cliff and Cydney were true, Nick DOES have a metal plate in his head and DOES easily kick Cliff/Rocky's ass, despite having just been shot in the head.
  • Scenery Porn: Hawaii looks pretty awesome.
  • Shout-Out: Nick makes several references to Cool Hand Luke, which Cliff notably doesn't get.
  • Skinny Dipping: Gina is introduced sunbathing naked on a float in a swimming hole; despite Cliff and Cydney (who he just met) standing behind them, Nick immediately strips down to join her. The lack of awkwardness makes Cydney comfortable enough to doff her clothes and swim with them. The whole scene is played for very little intentional Fanservice and comes off very natural.
  • The Sociopath: Rocky. It's examined much more than most media, too. He describes the feeling that the world as going into "power-saving mode" when he isn't looking at it.
  • Squeamish About Slaughter: Subverted— Cydney and Cliff are appear to be unnerved by Nick and Gina nonchalantly butchering a goat Nick hunted. However, it is soon revealed that Cliff and Cyd are a pair of Serial Killers who have done MUCH worse things to other humans.
  • Too Dumb to Live: At the climax, Gina runs into other hikers and tries to plea for help. Rocky arrives soon after, intent on discrediting Gina's claims. Thankfully, for Gina, one of the hikers recognizes that while her eyes are normal, Rocky's enlarged pupils indicate he's a meth addict. The problem is, the guy practically blabs that he knows this. This leads to Rocky promptly silencing them.
  • Too Good to be True: Gina ask Cydney about her life. Cydney tells Gina how perfect her life is and how she plans to have lots of children with Cliff. Gina responds by telling her a story about a preacher who claimed to be holier than thou, only to get caught cheating on his wife with another man. She makes the point that people whom pretend to be perfect are liars. This gets Cydney to open up about how she really met Cliff, who is really Rocky.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: It's called A Perfect Getaway. In the trailer, they specify that the killers are a man and a woman. If you haven't put it together before you're in your seat, you must be a saint.
  • Twist Ending: Well, actually, it happens about halfway through the movie, but same difference, right?
  • Unflinching Walk: When Cliff's right hand is ruined by Nick's knife, he still tries to fire his gun. From the way Nick moves, he doesn't care in the slightest that Cliff is squeezing off rounds at him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Rocky after Nick gets the best of him during the climax.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't really know what happens to Kale and Cleo after they get arrested, though we can assume they were released considering the real killers were caught.