Movie Review: ‘The Weekend Away’ worth a watch

A refreshing thriller about a girls trip turned violent



“Gossip Girl” actor Leighton Meester stars in an unexpected, plot-filled thriller about a trip to Croatia that goes terribly wrong.

MIA PUZZO, Evergreen columnist

Decent thriller and psychological movies are often difficult to find; they usually are too cheesy, overly gory or too predictable. That is why there is something so refreshing about the new Netflix film, “The Weekend Away,” starring “Gossip Girl” actress Leighton Meester.

Meester, who plays an American vacationer named Beth, wakes up in her luxury room in Croatia, terrifyingly hungover and perplexed from the night before. She walks around the house, which is covered in clothing and flooded with empty wine bottles. The shiny white tiles on the floor are covered with shattered glass and blood splatters. 

Beth, a new mother who is taking a trip away from her baby and husband, is on a vacation with her old friend from college, Kate. Recently divorced, Kate is a narcissistic social climber who gloats that she will be paying the bill for their luxurious stays. Beth claims her marriage is going through a “rough patch,” but assures us it is nothing more. 

Kate decides she is going to take Beth on an adventurous night out to get her out of her rut. Their night out turns into partying with two random strangers, and when Beth wakes up the next day, she has little memory of the prior events. Kate is nowhere to be found in the morning, which leads to an immediate panic and a search for her. 

If you enjoy a great deal of suspense, this movie is for you. While unbelievably unrealistic, this hectic movie is guaranteed to leave the viewer on the edge of their seat. 

Meester was one of the most unexpected things to come out of this film. In the teen series “Gossip Girl,” Meester plays Blair Waldorf, who can only be described as an obnoxious rich girl.

I cannot say I did not enjoy “Gossip Girl” as a guilty pleasure show, but I was surprised to see Meester in an artsy film like this one, taking on a more complex (and simply less annoying) role. She embodies Beth’s uneasy mental state in an illuminating way. 

In addition, actor Ziad Bakri is perfect as Zain, the Syrian cab driver who develops an unlikely friendship with Beth following her arrival in Croatia. Bakri is a suspiciously calm force that balances out Beth’s stressful energy. There is also something mysterious about Zain, which makes the movie a tad more unsettling. 

While the film has many detailed twists and turns, the friendship between Kate and Beth is underdeveloped. Because the writers made Kate so unlikeable, it is hard for the viewer to have the same interest in finding Kate as Beth does.

 It is also hard to understand why these two are such good friends in the first place. There is so much going on in this movie that it seems the writers could have saved time to elaborate on this relationship.

“The Weekend Away” is not the best thriller you will ever watch, but it is not one you will want to turn off either. Aspects of the film do remind me of one of my classic favorite thrillers, “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” starring young Matt Damon.

If you are debating whether to stream or skip it, I say stream it. Set in a dreamy location, “The Weekend Away” is never boring and has a worthwhile performance by Meester.