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Trapped inside his car by a mudslide, smooth talking Jackson Alder suddenly finds himself in a situation he can't talk his way out of. With no hope of rescue, he must defy the odds; battling Mother Nature for his survival.

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The Bottom Line
This taut and effective thriller produces maximum suspense with a minimum of means.

William Dickerson
Neil Hopkins, Brea Grant

William Dickerson's claustrophobic thriller concerns a man trapped in his car buried under a mudslide.

Claustrophobics would be advised to steer clear of William Dickerson's micro-budgeted debut feature set almost entirely inside a car buried under a mudslide.

The latest in a seemingly burgeoning mini-genre that includes such recent similarly themed efforts as Wrecked and Buried (starring Adrien Brody and Ryan Reynolds respectively), Detour is a tautly efficient thriller that fully succeeds in making the viewer identify with its hapless protagonist's desperate plight.

Not wasting any time with a lengthy plot set-up, the film begins with thirty something ad executive Jackson (Neil Hopkins, of ABC's Lost) waking up in his SUV, which is completely covered in mud. A subsequent flashback reveals that his car was swallowed up by a mudslide on the coastal California highway on which he was headed to an important business meeting.

Possessing only a half-bottle of water and little food, Jackson quickly begins to realize the seriousness of his situation, as air becomes increasingly limited and the car's sunroof threatens to collapse under the mud's oppressive weight. Alternating between frantic desperation and steely resolve, he attempts to figure out ways to rescue himself using whatever materials he has access to, MacGyver style.

Alleviating the viewer's feelings of being trapped, if not the character's, are flashbacks to his troubled domestic life with his spouse (Brea Grant), seen as videos on his phone, that reveal him to be something of a jerk.

Running a taut 87 minutes, the film makes Jackson's inventive survival attempts fully credible, with director/co-screenwriter Dickerson displaying a sure hand in conveying the precise physical details with a convincing realism.

Giving a virtually solo performance in which he seems to go through all five of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief, Hopkins well handles the role's extensive emotional and physical demands, especially in the harrowing climactic sequence that will leave few viewers unshaken.

Opens March 29 (Gravitas Ventures)
Production: Fishbowl Films, Level 1 Entertainment
Cast: Neil Hopkins, Brea Grant, John Forest, Ptolemy Slocum Deb Snyder
Director: William Dickerson
Screenwriters: William Dickerson, Dwight Moody
Producers: Diane Becker, Carrie LeGrand, Melanie Miller
Executive producers: Luc Des Groseillers, Erin Egan, Kevin Foley, Edward Milstein, Bill Todman Jr.
Director of photography: Robert Kraetsch
Editor: Kirk M. Morri
Production designer: Elizabeth Van Dam
Costume designer: Cathryn Coldiron
Composer: Henning Lohner
Not rated, 86 min.

Director's Statement

Welcome fellow surfers-of-the-web and film fanatics to the official website of DETOUR!

My name is William Dickerson, the writer/director of the film (well, I technically wrote the film with my screenwriting partner, Dwight Moody, but "writer/director" has such a nice ring to it, doesn't it?).

DETOUR started out as an experiment in the simplicity of filmmaking.  Why keep it simple, you may ask?  Well, it is survival instinct (keep this theme in mind, it's going to come up again).  How does one survive in a town [Hollywood] that is purported to eat its young and go back for seconds?  Some of you may take that statement literally, some may view it as a metaphor for high-concept fare that overshadows independent films and, in doing so, sparks an endless number of sequels; either interpretation is fine.

Dwight and I came up with the idea of a man trapped in a basement after his house in the hills gets besieged by a landslide.  It was something we could afford to do, outside of the Hollywood machine.  Both, the story, and the act of making this into a film, involved that survival instinct I mentioned previously.  I needed to make a film, that's what I came to LA to do, and I wasn't going to wait for anyone, or any institution, to give me permission to do just that.  Writing DETOUR, something I could go out there and make myself, gave me all the permission I needed.  With that in mind, there is a lot of me in DETOUR's Jackson Alder.  Jackson must learn how to survive on his own in a world that's most certainly not on his side.  He's got to fight hard against the antagonistic world of unpredictable natural disasters, to persuade the ground to move in his direction, but if he can't convince the earth to swing its vote, well, he has no choice but to dig his way right through it - even if it means certain death.

Cast & Crew

Neil Hopkins

Neil Hopkins

Co-producer / Jackson Alder

Neil is best known for his recurring role on LOST, playing Liam, the heroin-addicted rockstar brother of Charlie (Dominic Monaghan). His other TV credits include recurring roles on the Emmy-Award nominated BIG LOVE and the Paul Haggis series, CRASH; as well as a wide variety of guest starring roles on MY NAME IS EARL, THE GHOST WHISPERER, CSI:NY, CRIMINAL MINDS and NCIS, to name a few.

Brea Grant

Brea Grant


Brea Grant is an actress best known for her role on the hit NBC series, HEROES, the Showtime original series, DEXTER, and Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN 2. Brea grew up in Marshall, Texas and earned a BA and MA in American Studies from the University of Texas. She has received national attention for both her acting work as well as her use of social media and "geek" stardom in The New York Times, CNN.com, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon Magazine, Geek Magazine, and Regard Magazine.

Film Credits