31 In 31: A Simple Plan

Not what some might consider a horror film, Sam Raimi's adaptation of the book of the same name provides enough horror and tension to be warranted.

Brothers Hank and Jacob Mitchell (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) along with Jacob's friend Lou (Brent Briscoe), discover a crashed plane deep in the woods. Inside, Hank discovers a dead pilot and a bad containing 4.4 million dollars in bills. The three friends make a pact to keep the money, but wait until Spring to split the money just in case someone begins to look for the money. As Lou is the town drunk and Jacob is dim-witted, Hank decides to keep the stash of money at his house with his wife, Sarah (Bridget Fonda).

Sarah loves the idea of having the money as Sarah and Hank barely get by with their incomes. Hank still tries to be responsible and keep the money closely guarded, but when Lou drunkenly keeps bothering Hank for some of the money and Jacob is unable to keep his mouth shut, especially around Sheriff Carl Jenkins (Chelcie Ross), Hank begins to turn to desperate measures to ensure they are able to keep the money.

Sam Raimi brings us a cold, dark film that really works. All the actors bring their game and you buy their personalities. Filling the screen with crows, snow and dead trees, Raimi ensures that the audience does not have a good time and consistently lays on the feeling of dread and despair.

The one minor quibble I do have with this story is regarding Sarah. Almost immediately within Hank bringing the money into their house, she is absolutely gung-ho about keeping the money. She acts almost as Hank's devil on his shoulder as she keeps mentioning to Hank what he needs to do in order to keep the money safe and in  their hands. The way her character turns absolutely evil right from the get-go does not feel natural to me.

Overall, though, Sam Raimi and his cast provide a great thriller. Though low on blood, guts and gore, there is no reason this film should be considered less than a great horror film.


  1. A very, very tense movie that reminded me a lot of Fargo, in the setting and pace of itself. The performances also kept me on-board the whole time and it's one of Billy Bob's finer performances, where he gives us a nerdy-look at his acting skills. Good review Rob.

  2. Thanks, Dan! It is a really underappreciated film. BBT got a well-deserved Oscar nom for his role. It's a shame this film hasn't been able to find a larger audience. Thank you for checking this review out!