Sunday, May 15, 2011

Horror Film Review

Salvage (2009):  I usually love British horror flicks.  When I read the synopsis of this one, I thought excited thoughts.  A shipping container washes ashore near a small town and some type of creature starts bumping off the residents.  How could that not be cool?  Sadly, it's just not.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

It's Christmas Eve and Jodie (Linzey Cocker) is being driven by her dad to her mom's house.  Mom and dad have split and Jodie blames mom.  Once there, she finds mom, Beth (played by Neve McIntosh) doing the wild thing with Kieran (Shaun Dooley) and runs across the street to a friend's house in a huff.  Beth tries getting her to come home, fails, and as she's walking back to her house, a group of military commandos pop up out of nowhere.  They scream for everyone to get in their homes and lock the doors.  Up to this point, the film was your basic ho-hum, dysfunctional family crap.  Now, Beth and Kieran are trapped, they don't know what's going on, the power gets cut, cell phones don't work, and it seems that something is outside hunting the neighbors.  Beth starts going a little loony tunes because she doesn't know if Jodie's all right and can't get to her.  Kieran thinks what's happening is a terrorist attack.  An injured commando they pull to safety lets slip the truth.  And it's this truth that pretty much wrecked the movie.

Is some kind of exotic wild beast on the loose, or maybe a zombie?  How about an alien like in Predator?  Nope, nope, and nope.  They decided to fall back on the old chestnut of genetic manipulation to create a super soldier.  It went wrong, of course, as military DNA fiddling is wont to do, and now they're trying to clean up the mess.  It wouldn't have been as bad if the "creature" didn't look like the love child of Leatherface and the Toxic Avenger.  The other major problem I have with Salvage is Neve McIntosh who plays Beth.  She spends the second half of the movie with bared teeth and bugged-out eyes.  It's unintentionally creepy. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Everyone's so manic and hammy, especially McIntosh.  I'm used to more subdued, layered performances in British films. 
Story:  Yep.  There is one. 
Direction:  I will give kudos here since a serious effort was made to keep the tension and pace ratcheted up. 
Production Values:  It's low-budget but at least not shot on video. 
Gore/FX:  There is a fair amount of blood, which is good.  The creature makeup was silly, which is bad. 
Scares:  I'll admit it, I jumped once or twice.  And I don't usually jump.
The Ending:  Egad.  It combines the two elements I hate most in a climax:  cliche and nihilism. 
The Verdict:  Should you see Salvage?  Jeepers, no.  But what about all the good reviews, you may ask.  Let me ask often do you agree with professional movie critics?

My Rating1 out of 5 stars.

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