SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: There are quite a few plot twists, misdirections, and dream sequences in Jeff & Josh Crook's "Salvage." So many, in fact, that there's no room for bulky stuff like character development, plot construction, or even a half-decent story. And as a lifelong horror geek who trawls film festivals for any variety of spooky stuff, I'm disappointed to note that "Salvage" left me pretty cold -- even if it's not an awful little gimmick flick.Fraternal filmmakers responsible for flicks such as Sucker Punch and Ghetto Dawg 2, Jeff & Josh Crook delve into the genre pool and come up with what they probably think is a pretty clever twist on the ol' slasher game ... and for the first 25 minutes or so of Salvage, I'd have been tempted to agree with them. Before the wheels came off.
Salvage is a movie that's nearly impossible to 'synopsize' without 'spoiling' it, but I'll do what I can:
A pretty young woman finds herself terrorized by a local serial killer. He promptly murders her ... or does he? Only a few short seconds after young Claire has been sliced to ribbons -- she wakes up at her place of employment (a convenience store) and begins wondering what the hell is going on. And who's that following behind her in a pickup truck? The nasty ol' murderer, that's who. So he stalks her down and slices her up (again) before ... Claire wakes up again.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Stalk. Slice. Snooze.
So while about 33% of Salvage could make for one heckuva solid Twilight Zone episode, it only takes a few extra minutes before an astute audience member realizes, "Hey, if everything's some kind of dream sequence ... then exactly how scary is this meant to be??" When everything takes place in an alternate reality, it's tough to build up any real mood, tension, or consistent atmosphere.
And the thing's wrapped up with a half-clever semi-twist that'd probably seem more satisfying if half-clever semi-twists didn't permeate every other horror flick from the past five years.Points for trying: the cinematography is pretty slick, the leading lady (Lauren Currie Lewis) does a damn fine job with a pretty difficult role, and there are a few relatively jolt-worthy moments of "Boo!" -- but "Salvage" feels a whole lot like a rock-solid short film that was streeeeetched into feature length without adding the components than a 90-minute movie requires.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2006 Florida Film Festival series, click here.