Saturday, 25 June 2011
Past it’s sell by date
Lover: Taken from IMDB
“Saw this movie while in the USA in the eighties. Much better and more believable than any of the later run-of-the-mill films I've seen, Stephen King and the like. It might be said that The Survivor is a forerunner to Carrie, also an excellent and scary movie. I remember vividly a scene where a paparazzi photographer is developing a shot of a totally burnt face, and where gradually a pair of large, staring eyes appear, driving the scoundrel out of his mind. I believe that I remember this scene as well as anything from that period of my life, although it's twenty years ago. There's no happy ending to the story, so the spectator ends up with an uncomfortable knowledge of evil and a feeling of tragedy. This film ought to be given another chance with the public. This film really was an eyeopener, and subsequently I've tried never to miss a new Aussie movie.”
This review is a little more favourable than I am, however the film is superbly atmospheric.
Hater: Taken from IMDB
“Part of an ill-fated two-picture deal (alongside Harlequin) that Robert Powell signed in the wake of Jesus of Nazareth's success, Australian horror movie The Survivor is a fairly good idea undone by clumsy writing and rushed execution, although the film looks like it's either been heavily edited or they ran out of money and couldn't film everything in the script. Ideas are left hanging, motives unexplained and characters disappear after fleeting introductions (third-billed Angela Punch McGregor gets a single line in one brief scene). Powell's pilot is the sole survivor of a crash on take-off and as he falls under suspicion during the crash investigation, those exploiting the tragedy (most notably an unscrupulous photographer) start to die at the hands of the dead victims and Jenny Agutter's psychic tries to enlist his help in giving their spirits peace before the body count rises. All of which sounds much more interesting than the execution, as David Hemmings' direction veers more to the competent than the inspired, though a replay of the spectacular crash scene near the end is highly effective.”
You can tell that the film is strangled by a small budget, like this review says it means that some characters are underused. I don’t think this means it’s a terrible movie however, Robert Powell is a dependable lead and the film is laced with an ever present trace of dread.
What I thought:
The biggest problem with The Survivor is simply how dated it is, filmed in 1981 the music is just one. A lot of dated soundtracks grow with time, Halloween for instance; its soundtrack is still incredibly effective. The music in Survivor undermines the scariest scenes, the sound effects help to keep up the creepy mood though, just audible screams from the doomed passengers work to keep the mood sour. There are a few jumps but either due to lack of budget or the directors’ choice it shows little of the grim side of the story.
This either works for you or not, asking you to use your imagination a little is tough with early 80’s style, direction and music. Sadly I think this film is past it’s sell by date; I think it would have been very effective. Its story precedes things like The Sixth Sense, as does the twisty ending which shows promise. Sadly not enough if watched today, this so called ‘Ozploitation’ film just doesn’t work in the recent these times.
Labels: The Survivor