Written & Directed By: Victor Salva
Cinematography: Don E. FauntLeRoy
Editor: Ed Marx
Cast: Gina Philips, Eileen Brennan, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith
A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature that is in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree.
When it comes to this film it will always come surrounded by controversy. Not only because of the director’s past crimes and their horrific nature of them but also because he has continued to make films for the general public. Not to mention in his work since he got out of jail for his crimes. His films have alluded to or given a showcase to his fetishes so to speak. At least that is what those who know of his past have been able to notice.
Especially when it comes to scenes such as him sniffing the boy’s underwear and seemingly intent on hunting the male lead down more than anything.
When it comes to Victor Salva he is a talented filmmaker. His film before this POWDER seemed to come across as a thinly disguised apology and a kind of begging for forgiveness about his past. Like this film, it was a surprise hit. Even though it was more of a family drama.
Here he gets to sink his teeth into an original tale. Where he even created a new iconic horror movie monster for a generation. The film definitely goes for jump scares and the element of surprise as it builds up the tension and sense of dread. As it is a film the audience has to have patience.
The protagonists of the film use back roads to avoid traffic. Which also sets the film’s mood of desolation. As we barely see any people other than The leads and the monster for plenty of stretches.
The film is a low budget yet still feels like a movie that could have been made in the 1970s or 80s where there is an emphasis on the special effects which are practical but it stays somewhat a mystery and instead focuses on the characters. Mainly the two leads who are playing siblings and as the film goes along.
The brother played by Justin Long goes from being more the happy-go-lucky joking character to the most haunted. As his sister becomes more and more tough and protective.
The film is almost like THE PREDATOR. Not as action-packed but it is essentially a film about a monster hunting its prey.
One scene In Particular truly saves the film And is truly noteworthy the police station massacre. As this is a film that whenever there is the action you are thankful as the film truly becomes exciting.
The film truly never offers too much information on the creature; it could only go two ways. Part one in a series that will get into the origins of the creature (which it did) or remain a mystery as a one-off film (which might have been better. Especially for it having a more lasting legacy)
This is a film that is more In tune with watching it in a theater or the closest to a theatrical experience that you can manage to get its full impact.
The film is seen as a classic by a few. As the scares are original yet feel cheap. It doesn’t help that the film was followed by two sequels that felt somewhat needed but didn’t do anything to deepen the lore or impress that they needed to be told.
The other aspect that made me enjoy the film is it’s dark ending. Which really feels like a gut punch.