In an era dominated by nostalgia, it’s no wonder that River Wild has been dominating the global top ten charts on Netflix for two weeks straight.
This 2023 American adventure-thriller film storming the Netflix top ten, directed by Ben Ketai, stars two of television’s biggest names from the 2000s. Leighton Meester, known for her iconic role as Blair Waldorf on the OG Gossip Girl, takes on a completely different persona as Joey Reese in River Wild. Paired opposite her is her real-life husband, Adam Brody, who famously starred as Seth Cohen in the hit series The OC.
This on-screen reunion of two beloved television stars is undoubtedly a treat for fans who grew up watching these shows, no matter how underwhelming the resulting film may be.
River Wild isn’t just a run-of-the-mill thriller; it’s a reimagining of a classic starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon and David Strathairn. Drawing inspiration from the 1994 Curtis Hanson film The River Wild, this modern-day standalone sequel introduces a new twist to the story.
Set against the backdrop of a whitewater rafting trip, the film transitions from exhilarating adventure to bone-chilling terror. The characters find themselves trapped on the river with a sinister killer among them.
The story follows estranged siblings Gray (Taran Killam) and Joey Reese (Meester), accompanied by their childhood friend Trevor (Brody). The trio’s secrets from their past gradually unravel, adding to the tension. As Joey’s character grapples with her fears, she must navigate a treacherous journey alongside her brother to ensure their survival.
Brody was quizzed by Variety as to why he would choose to do such a violent movie with his wife, Meester; he joked, “I tried to kill her for a fair amount of the movie. I wouldn’t have picked this for us. It came to me… fully formed from a friend to both of us, but this isn’t something I was looking to do together.”
It was not a hassle for the duo because Brody dissed the idea of doing method acting right away, calling it “boring” multiple times to drive the point home, “It [Method acting] sounds fucking boring more than anything to me. It sounds ungodly boring, but hats off to them. Hats off to people that don’t watch their stuff are Method… I don’t know. Is it lacking that I can turn it off so quickly? I don’t know. I’m more comfortable this way. And it just seems so profoundly uncomfortable and also boring.”
In an interaction with EW, even Meester noted how bringing home the tension of the story was out of the question, “This kind of material was easier to do with someone I trust so much. He knows me so well, and our intimacy allowed us to freely work within both our boundaries and gave me an innate sense of safety.”