Directed By: Evelyn Purcell
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Svetlana Metinka, Maisie Williams, Peter Stormare, Warrick Grier, Calvin Hayward, Jeanne Neilson, et.al.
Rating: TV-14
Grade: C

Troubled teen Jo, having one too many run-ins with the police, is sent to Africa to help her estranged father Paul, and his girlfriend Tally, document hyenas in the wild for his work. Jo, unhappy with being dumped in the middle of nowhere, causes as much discord as she can until her father agrees to send her home. However, when they happen upon poachers, Jo’s world is turned upside down, and she and Tally must come to a truce as they fight for their lives in a harsh environment.

This is a serviceable thriller, adapted from the novel Leave No Trace, that does as well as a made-for-TV movie can with a limited budget. The plot is a little choppy and rushed, and while I haven’t read the book, I wonder if it might have been better used as a limited/miniseries. That said, the actors all seem to work well together, and Maisie Williams does well with an American accent, though her character does tend to come off as a whiny brat for the first part of the movie. Filmed on location in South Africa, the scenery is beautiful to look at, and almost makes up for the slim storytelling.

From what I could tell, there were little to no special effects or background filler used.

Anyone who likes mild intensity without really being scared, or hardcore fans of one of the actors, will likely enjoy this movie. There’s no real language or nudity to speak of (there is a relatively tame sex scene between Paul and Tally), so it should be safe for just about anyone to watch. The movie does pick up after the encounter with the poachers, but the story is easy enough to follow that you don’t necessarily need to pay close attention to it.

Heatstroke is currently available free to stream through TubiTV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime, and it can be rented through Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!