Veteran character actor Michael Biehn's directorial debut is a taunt, fast moving throwback to the thrillers of the 1970's lovingly dubbed "savage cinema." It is raw, violent, full of sex and female nudity, yes it is gratuitous and joyously so. It is also an agreeable enough time waster that manages to avoid becoming offensive or repulsive.
Said to have been inspired by his working with Robert Rodriguez on the movie Grindhouse, not necessarily inspired by grind house cinema as has been reported, this film has a low budget guerilla-style look to it that is fully appropriate given the material and adds to it's off white colorfulness. Shot in a speedily manner, eleven days with a budget of $800,000, Biehn's debut is surprisingly well manned.
I went into this one knowing nothing about it except that Biehn starred in it and had directed it, and found myself pleasantly surprised with his skill behind the camera. Working with his wife, actress Jennifer Blanc, also a co-producer, I didn't even know that Biehn also wrote the script, which serves as the movie's weakest point.
Blanc stars as Annie, a stripper cokehead who along with her best friend Mary (Danielle Harris) are partying with a couple of local cops when things go a little sour, to say the least. Mary ends up dead, the victim of the title, and the officers pursue Annie. She finds refuge with Kyle (Biehn), a recluse who lives alone in the woods and tries to avoid drawing any attention.
Biehn is a strong presence, an actor who under different circumstances could have easily become a star and a Hollywood leading man, he dropped off the radar for a while, but thanks to Rodriguez's above mentioned movie he has resurfaced in some worthwhile projects and more high profile films. He adds a legitimacy to this movie and no doubt helped this film get a justifiably better release including dates at a number of film festivals and a brief theatrical run.
His lovely wife Blanc does a fine job, but isn't overtly charismatic in the heroine role. Scream queen Harris is always a treat for fans of the genre, sadly she has little to do playing the title role. Mostly Harris' scenes are confined to badly edited, awkwardly placed and poorly written flashbacks.
Also the over all pacing is thrown off by the intrusive music on the soundtrack. Even at 83 minutes things do seem to run a little long. The camerawork is solid and it all comes to a satisfactory ending, even if it goes out on a plot twist that becomes apparent to the viewer long before it occurs to our protagonist. With a decent budget and a better script, Biehn could be a decent genre director, I will look forward to future movies from one of our most underrated actors, one who could have been a contender.