What if every choice we ever make was already made for us? What if there really were no coincidences in life and our destinies were already predetermined? Ten strangers with secrets are brought together in a savage rainstorm: A limo driver (John Cusack), an '80s TV star (Rebecca DeMornay), a cop (Ray Liotta) who is transporting a killer (Jake Busey), a call girl (Amanda Peet), a pair of newlyweds(Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott) and a family in crisis (John C. McGinley, Leila Kenzle, Bret Loehr), all take shelter at a desolate motel run by a nervous night manager (John Hawkes). Relief in finding shelter is quickly replaced with fear as the ten travelers begin to die, one by one. They soon realize that, if they are to survive, they'll have to uncover the secret that has brought them alltogether..
DVD features are not quite as enticing as they sound. Of chief interest is the extended branched version of the film (available in widescreen only), but there's only one added scene (an interesting but not critical minute-long sequence that would have been the first conference-room scene), and the differences in the alternate ending are so subtle that you'll miss them if you literally blink a few times. There's no question it could affect audience perception, but unlike most alternate endings, it doesn't affect the actual outcome. (See spoiler
for more information.) The four deleted scenes (which don't include either of the above-mentioned additions) aren't that exciting, and the optional director commentary notes that these deletions generally served to cut moments of character and comic relief in favor of moving the story along, which is one reason the film runs a brisk 90 minutes. James Mangold's director commentary on the feature is good, though, as he discusses such matters as the logistics of the perpetual downpour and a crucial bit of dialogue removed from the film's climax. Considering that downpour and the contrasting darks and lights of the film, picture quality is good, and the thunder claps sound great in 5.1 sound so there are no complaints about the DVD's presentation of the film itself. --David Horiuchi