Black Bags: a surprising thriller

Olesya Rulin and Laura Vandervoort in Black Bags

Black Bags is essentially a two hander starring Olesya Rulin and Laura Vandervoort as strangers who mix up their black suitcases getting off a bus. What starts off in seeming innocence quickly turns dangerous and startling.

Black Bags was both predictable and surprising. Some of the twists were obvious early on, others did bring a little surprise punch.

Olesya Rulin as Tess and Laura Vandervoort as Sara are two actresses I wasn’t familiar with before seeing this. Both of them did an excellent job.

Olesya Rulin and Laura Vandervoort in Black Bags

Tess is pregnant and filling a prescription which she needs to take every 4 hours, day and night, to protect her pregnancy. She boards a bus to go to her rural home.

Sara, who wheels the same exact bag, boards the bus after her and sits down beside her. They chat a bit.

Tess drags the wrong suitcase home. She calls her husband, leaves her phone outside on the porch swing, and goes inside.

Sara pounds on the door. She tells Tess she has her suitcase and wants her own suitcase back. Tess goes upstairs for the suitcase, opens it and sees a head inside a plastic bag.

Tess is freaked out, but Sara has plans. She has made sure Tess’s fingerprints are all over the bag. She’s pocketed the much needed pills and the phone. She wants Tess’s help in disposing of the evidence. She radiates a kind of menace that demands compliance.

Olesya Rulin and Laura Vandervoort in Black Bags

Tess has little choice but to meet Sara’s demands. They take off for an abandoned chemical plant, dragging the suitcase behind them.

The conversation between the two women reveals a lot about who they are and how Sara became the owner of severed head. They are both mothers (or mothers to be) who only want to protect their children. Things are tense between them, and Sara continues to be threatening long after she should have left Tess behind.

The final act is where the twists and surprises are revealed. I thought the ending was satisfying in a rather bloody way.

This isn’t a great movie, but it’s different and original. It isn’t the usual thriller.

I watched the film free using my library’s Hoopla app, but you can rent it from Amazon, Apple TV, YouTube, and several other streamers.

If you watch it, I’d like to know what you thought of it.

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