Burndown (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Burndown (1989)





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Movie Info

This thriller has a strong anti-nuclear message. It is set in Thorpeville, a Southern town that has an abandoned nuclear-power plant and chronicles a bizarre series of rapes and murders. What is most puzzling is that each of the female victims are found to be radioactive. Investigating the strange killings are sheriff Jake Stern, pathologist Doc Roberts, slightly crazed Vietnam vet Freddie, and a clever reporter Patti Smart. They eventually deduce that the killer is some sort of nuclear mutant and their prime suspect is James Manners, the man who designed the faulty reactor. All of the investigators soon find themselves entangled in a complex conspiracy/cover-up that culminates in an explosive finale.


Peter Firth
as Jake Stern
Cathy Moriarty
as Patti Smart
Hal Orlandini
as James Manners
Michael McCabe
as Doc Roberts
Hugh Rouse
as George Blake
Nadia Bilchick
as May Ellen
Alan Granville
as Joe Barnes
Owen de Jager
as Terry Coleman
Graham Weir
as Freddie
John Whittley
as Doc Freeman
Adam Gordon
as Attacker
Allan Granville
as Joe Barnes
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Critic Reviews for Burndown

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Audience Reviews for Burndown


Burndown (James Allen, 1989) [originally posted 18Jun2001] While Stuart Collins' novel Burndown didn't make my 15-worst list back in 1999, it wasn't too far off. So when I discovered that a movie had been made of this morass of mediocrity, I felt a masochistic need to see how bad it was. Now I know. James Allen's first (and, to date, last) feature-length big-screen offering has a cast of worthwhile second-tier character actors lumbering their way through a godawful script (by first-timer Anthony Barwick and a chap named-yeah, right-"Colin Stewart") matched only by the film's incredibly cheesy special effects. For those of you who have blocked the plot from your minds, let me refresh your memories. A series of brutal rape-murders is happening in the vicinity of a mothballed nuclear plant in an almost-ghost-town. The bodies of the victims are radioactive. (Whoa. Bet you can't see where THIS is going.) The alcoholic sheriff (Peter Firth), his journalist girlfriend (Cathy Moriarty), and the town's medical examiner (Michael McCabe) go sniffing around the plant to try and figure out what's up, only to be stalled by the plant's caretaker, Manners (Hal Orlandini). About the only thing I can say in the movie's favor is that (if you're one of the ten people who read the novel, close your eyes) the ending of the film is treated at least marginally closer to reality than the book's was. Note that "marginally" is a relative term. On the other hand, if you never see this movie, you're not missing out. * 1/2

Robert Beveridge
Robert Beveridge

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