A Deadly Game

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“An arrow escape.”

Winner of the “Most misleading DVD cover of the year” award, the gap between expectation and reality has rarely been wider. It starts off promisingly enough, with young woman Kayla (Fairaway), carrying a bow and running away from a man in a car. She’s rescued by a passing motorist, but they are run off the road by their pursuer. There’s then a flashback, to explain how these events came about. Which would be fine, except for the flashback lasting close to an hour and a quarter of thoroughly mind-numbing chit-chat, before anyone even picks up a bow in anger. It’s not exactly the Hunger Games wannabe the sleeve is trying to suggest.

One of the alternative names, Deadly Spa, is far more accurate, even though it’s a title more likely to raise a smirk than a rush of adrenaline-charged excitement. Kayla is at the spa in question – ‘The Source’ with her mother, Dawn (Pietz), having convinced Mom she needs a break. At first, the place seems beyond perfect: all meditation rooms, power food breakfasts, toxin-cleansing saunas, and of course, no cell-phones allowed. Though Kayla has a yearning for a cheeseburger, which she guiltily admits to sympathetic (and hunky!) spa employee, Brett (Werkheiser).

Like most things in Lifetime TV movies which seem too good to be true, this is too good to be true. In particular, spa owner David James (Whitworth) has more in common with David Koresh than his customers should expect. He takes a shine to Dawn, and successfully pulls the wool over her eyes. Kayla is nowhere near so easily convinced, not least because she has seen David’s more psychotic side. When her mother finally sees the light as well, the two try to escape, planning to divulge David’s dirty little secrets to the authorities. If you’re well-read on cult leaders like Jim Jones, you’ll know that, to David, it makes them a problem. The solution initially involves tying Kayla up in an attic and inflicting low-rent brain-washing techniques on her. It doesn’t take. This is my unsurprised face. 

Eventually – and, boy, do I mean “eventually” – this brings us back to where we came in. It takes so long, that I was beginning to feel I was the one held captive against my will, though unfortunately without any of that nice Stockholm syndrome kicking in. [And the sooner the PTSD kicks in and erases the whole movie from my memory, the better] First mom, and then the daughter, use their archery skills, miraculously picked up after little more than two arrows, to defend themselves. It’s just enough content – along with Mom’s miraculous and unannounced judoka talents, allowing her to flip one of David’s henchmen off a cliff – to allow this to qualify for the site. However, this review should be considered far more of a warning, than any kind of endorsement. I’m sure the place will be getting a one-star review on Yelp as well.

Dir: Marita Grabiak
Star: Amy Pietz, Tracey Fairaway, Johnny Whitworth, Devon Werkheiser
a.k.a. Zephyr Springs and Deadly Spa

The Bad Batch

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“After the apocalypse, there will still be photocopiers. And raves.”

In the film’s defense, it’s not clear quite how post-apocalyptic this is meant to be, since we don’t see anything of the world at large. Everything takes place inside a stretch of desert which has been used, apparently for some time, as a dumping ground for the dregs of society. Into this environment is dropped Arlen (Waterhouse), who soon gets first-hand experience of the situation, when a cannibal mother and daughter capture her, and cut off an arm and a leg. She escapes, and is found and rescued by the Hermit (Carrey), who brings her to Comfort, the nearest the zone offers to civilization. When she’s well again, Arlen returns to take revenge on the mother, but believing the daughter to be innocent, takes her back to Comfort. Which provokes the ire of Miami Man (Monoa), a tattooed behemoth who turns out to be the girl’s father, and wants her back.

There’s also Keanu Reeves, running around as “the Dream,” a rave promoter, drug pusher and overall lord of Comfort, who has a harem of pregnant, gun-toting women, all sporting “The Dream is inside me” T-shirts: probably the film’s most memorable image, despite its undoubted ludicrousness. But it all fails to gel into anything coherent or interesting, except in very sporadic moments. It’s a long slog through the first 30 minutes, which are almost entirely dialogue-free, to get to what passes for the meat of the story – though it’s more like undercooked tofu, to be honest.

For the movie never achieves anything like a consistent direction or even tone. Even its Wikipedia page calls the film a “romantic drama horror-thriller”. Good luck juggling all those genres. Is it aspiring to be Mad Max? A spaghetti Western? My best guess could well be, merely a six million dollar budgeted excuse for the director’s favourite Spotify playlist, the soundtrack roaming with jarring inconsistency from Culture Club to Die Antwoord, while we endure lengthy shots of Arlen wandering the desert, high on the Dream’s product. And don’t even get me started on the Hawaiian Momoa playing a supposed Cuban, with a cod-Mexican accent. I’m just glad Chris (whose family is genuinely Cuban) wasn’t around, or all Momoa’s scenes would have been overdubbed with a stream of her derisive snorts, emanating from next to me on the couch.

I did appreciate the look of the film, with some striking imagery: the towering wall of shipping containers, parked in the middle of the desert, for example. That just isn’t enough to sustain a 115-minute running-time, especially when the film seems to get bored of its own ideas, and forget about them. Miami Man, for example, despite proclaiming that his daughter is the only thing he cares about, apparently abandons this search and drifts away from the picture, apparently preferring to do something else for much of the second half. This viewer’s interest was right there beside him.

Dir: Ana Lily Amirpour
Star: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey

Valley of Ditches

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“Dull as ditches-water”

After a brief prelude, we first see the heroine Emilia (Todisco) tied in the back of a car belong to her abductor, Sean (Fenton), who is nearby digging what appears disturbingly like a grave. He is seriously unhinged and driven by his loony religious faith to punish those whom he perceives as deserving the wrath of God. Which in this case would be Emilia and her boyfriend, Michael (Sless). Emilia’s first escape attempt does not end well, and she finds herself in the hole in the ground, handcuffed to the corpse of her boyfriend. Now what?

The answer, unfortunately, is “not nearly enough.” I think it’s the lack of any real development of the characters up front which is the main problem. There’s something to be said for cutting straight to the meat of the matter. Except here, we don’t have any reason to care about Emilia, before we’re thrown in alongside her, and immediately expected to root for her escaping this predicament. There’s no particular motivation given for any this, beyond Sean’s burbling about Old Testament stories, including the one which gives the film its name. He’s the same, cookie-cutter slice of fundamentalist fruitcake we’ve seen a million times before: I’m not in the slightest religious, and even I found this more annoying than convincing.

There are various flashbacks to Emilia’s earlier life with an abusive father (Novell), and I read that abuse is supposed to be one of the film’s main themes. It says a lot that I had to read this, because the film certainly does not do enough to put its point across, whatever this may have been intended to be. There’s an awful lot of sitting around in the desert, and the heroine takes about ten times as long to reach the necessary decisions as I would, given the same circumstances. [I’d start with the principle: “Look, he’s already dead…” and quickly figure things out from there]

I will admit, there’s something to be said for the sparse approach here. There are really only three characters, and the location is mostly the desert, both aspects which cut back on the potential costs. It’s a setting which could be leveraged into a taut, effective thriller, pitting Emilia against Sean in a lethal struggle. Yet instead, there’s precious little tension generated after the first few minutes, particularly after Sean appears to have wandered off entirely, for some ill-defined reason. There’s a final face-off, in which vengeance is sought; I’m not sure it makes much sense, based on what has happened to that point.

This is probably all a little too “indie” for its own good, not least in the soundtrack, which seems to have strayed in from a hip, locally-owned coffee bar. The points it’s trying to make might have been better served by another genre, rather than dressing it up in the guise of a thriller, that doesn’t appear particularly interested in providing any thrills.

Dir: Christopher James Lang
Star: Amanda Todisco, Russell Bradley Fenton, Jeremy Sless, Andrew Novell

Monolith

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“Here in my car, I feel safest of all…”

As a joke I saw on Facebook went, “With all these self-driving cars, it won’t be long before there’s a country song about your truck leaving you.” The rise of smart vehicles is inevitable, and likely, so are other films like this, which falls somewhere between Christine and 2001. In this case, mother Sandra (Bowden) is driving to see her husband, whom she suspects of cheating on her, with their young child David (played by the two Hodges brothers, whom I’m assuming are twins!) in the back seat. Her car is the state-of-the-art Monolith, equipped with every safety feature imaginable, and then some. But a series of events – a diversion, an encounter with roadkill on the hoof, and Sandra giving David her smartphone as a distraction – lead to a tricky situation. She is stuck on a remote desert road, outside of a car that has now entered its impenetrable “vault mode”, with David trapped in its interior.

It’s not necessarily a bad idea, with the Monolith (voiced by Lang) having a personality that’s somewhere between Siri and GLaDOS from the Portal games. But there are quite a few problems with the execution. Once Sandra is locked out, it’s less “Man vs. Wild” and more “Woman vs. Brick,” as the car is simply sitting there. It isn’t particularly exciting, which is why the script tries to inject various exterior threats, most obviously a feral canine attracted by the roadkill. Though it’s kinda hard to care much, given the heroine’s situation is largely the result of her own poor decisions. I mean, for heavens’ sake, what kind of mother chooses to light up a cigarette, while in the car with her asthmatic child? At that point, being raised by the feral canine and its pack, is probably the kid’s best hope. And don’t even get me started on the finale, which takes ludicrous to a whole new level. [It turns out this car truly is completely indestructible]

There are a few subplots which don’t particularly go anywhere: the whole “husband affair” thing, for example. Or the fact that Sandra used to be the lead singer for a pop group, which seems to be there purely for vaguely regretful thoughts about having settled down to start a family. Neither it, nor the fans she runs into at a gas-station, serve any purpose once we get to the meat of the story. On the plus side, the film looks great, with Utah’s wilderness providing a wonderfully scenic backdrop, and Bowden isn’t bad, as a woman clearly out of her depth and forced to desperate lengths to try and rescue her child. However, the script is at least two rewrites from reaching a point, where the makers should have looked at it and decided to abandon the resulting project altogether as poorly conceived. For in its current in-car-nation (hohoho), there isn’t enough meat on its bones to make it through the road-trip.

Dir: Ivan Silvestrini
Star: Katrina Bowden, Krew + Nixon Hodges, Katherine Kelly Lang

Quarries

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“Questionable quarrels.”

It’s not often a film manages to be under-written AND over-written. Yet this tale of wilderness survival does both. A group of women are out on what’s supposed to be an empowering hike through the forest, designed to boost self-reliance, esteem and all that good stuff. But they come under attack from a group of local men, apparently intent on a hunting expedition, with the woman as the prey. They’ll need to learn survival skills, that’s for sure.

There’s a not-so-subtle message of gender politics here. The males here are all utter bastards or completely ineffective. Heroine Kat (Johnson, who also co-wrote the script with the director) is there to get away from an abusive relationship. It’s brick-like in its obviousness, yet it’s almost half-way before the two sides face off. Until that point, it’s virtually a poster-child for demonstrating why one of the rules of cinema is “show, don’t tell”. This does far too much telling, and to negligible effect. Maybe there are just too many members in the party, to allow for decent fleshing out? Beyond Kat, none of them are given any depth, defined by one or two simple characteristics. And I note the film’s fondness for liberal gender politics doesn’t extend to issues of race, perpetuating one of the most common genre stereotypes [minor spoiler at the link].

After an immensely annoying first half, things become somewhat better, when the film climbs off its soapbox, and gets down to the raw meat of rednecks vs. disgruntled women. However, we’re never given anything approaching an explanation for the huntsmen. There’s some vague hints in the intro about this being a former mining area, and one of the participants has a nasty burn on the side of his face. Quite how this ties into creating a pastime inspired by The Most Dangerous Game, is never clear. Given all the screen time (ineffectually) put into the victims’ back stories, you feel they could have spared two minutes and given a coherent motive to the other side.

The women handle themselves surprisingly well in the battle, making good use of the environment – which, basically, means clobbering the men with branches, rocks, and anything else the environment can provide them. Possibly a bit too good, given the absence of anything to explain why they can go toe-to-toe with opponents who are generally bigger, better armed and have the advantage of home territory. Yet these heroines seem curiously averse to taking weapons off those who are attacking them: I’d be looting the bodies and powering up with anything I could find.

The closest parallel I can provide in overall tone, might be to think of this as like an above-ground version of The Descent. Yet it’s not as entertaining or well put together: there, the lack of any real explanation for the cave-dwelling creatures didn’t pose any issue – because monsters. But when you introduce a human element, there generally needs to be at least some kind of motivation provided, or it just seems like lazy film-making. Despite some decent performances – not least from Johnson – it falls flat and forgettable. On the evidence here, she’s a better actress than a scriptwriter.

Dir: Nils Taylor
Star: Nicole Marie Johnson, Leisha Hailey, Carrie Finklea, James Devoti

Here Alone

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“Forest of the Dead”

A viral plague has decimated mankind, turning its victims in mindless, flesh-craving ghouls. One of the few to have survived is Ann (Walters), who has taken up residence in the woods, where she has camped out. Ann uses the survival skills she received from her now-absent husband, Jason (West), only occasionally having to emerge and risk the threat of the infected, in order to gather supplies. Her secluded, yet relatively safe existence is disturbed, when she finds an injured man, Chris (Thompson) and his teenage daughter, Liv (Piersanti) on a road. They are supposed to be on their way north, to where the epidemic is reported to be in check. Yet Chris, in particular, seems curiously unwilling to be on his way.

If there’s nothing particularly new or inventive about this version of the zombie apocalypse, it’s not without its small-scale merits. Ann is far from some kind of survivalist Mary Sue: she’s barely getting by, perhaps having paid less attention to her wilderness lessons than she should have. Probably wisely, for a small budget film, the infected – the term “zombies” is never used – are kept largely out of sight, heard more than they are seen. While their shrieks are unnerving enough, the tension comes more from internal forces: the opaque nature of Chris’s motives, for example, or Ann’s dwindling supply of bullets. The former are particularly troubling: the dynamic between Chris and Liv just seems “off” in a variety of ways, and I was not surprised when this played a part in the film’s climax. However, things do not unfold in the way I expected, so credit for that.

The film does cheat a bit with regard to previous events. At the beginning of the film, Ann is already alone, and information about what happened to Jason and their child, is only doled out in teaspoon-sized flashbacks over the course of subsequent events. It matters, because these flashbacks reveal quite a lot about her character, and the way she interacts with other people: information we otherwise don’t have. By not getting it until later, we end up retro-fitting it into what we’ve already seen, and I’m not certain the additional complexity of structure imposed, serves any real purpose.

In the earlier stages, it reminded me of The Wall, with its tale of a woman thrown back entirely onto her own resources. While that solo adventure would have been difficult to sustain, it is the most interesting and original part of proceedings. I was rather disappointed when Chris + Liv showed up, because the entire dynamic changes at that point, and the film becomes something with which I’m somewhat too familiar. While there are twists down the stretch, this rejects the chance to truly separate itself from the large pack of zombie apocalypse movies in terms of plot. Fortunately, a solid performance from Walters helps the film sustain viewer interest through the weaker second half.

Dir: Rod Blackhurst
Star: Lucy Walters, Adam David Thompson, Gina Piersanti, Shane West

Girl in Woods

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“Why we don’t camp, #273.”

It’s always interesting when reviews of a film are deeply polarized, and that’s the case here. The first page of Google results run the gamut from “I simply despised the film as a whole” to “The images are frightening within, and the only thing better than the scares are the performances.” While I lean toward the latter, I can see how this could have failed to make a connection with some viewers, and if that happens, then there isn’t much else to prevent the former opinion. It’s the kind of film where there isn’t likey to be a middle ground in reactions.

Following an awful childhood trauma, Grace (Reeves) has grown up into a troubled soul, but has finally found some peace, through her boyfriend (not without his own issues) and pharmaceutical help. However, that’s all shattered on a weekend trip to a cabin in the forest; on the way there, an accident (or was it?) occurs, leaving Grace stranded, alone, in the woods and very poorly equipped to survive. For what follows is a gradual and relentless shattering of her sanity, as the stress builds up and the drugs run out, and she tries to get out of her predicament. Grace’s personality splits into three distinct versions of herself – then there’s the darkly aboriginal creature who appears to be stalking her.

Meanwhile, we get flashbacks to Grace’s life with her mother (Carpenter) and father (Perkins), shedding some light on the cause of her mental fragility. It’s not much of a stretch to see Grace’s lost physical state as a metaphor for her psychological one: the title (and yes, that is it – I didn’t miss out a “the”) suggests the same. Since her character is on screen in virtually every scene, it’s a movie which really stands or falls on whether you buy in to Reeves’s performance – or, more accurately, performanceS, since many of these have her interacting only with her other selves. After some shaky moments early on, I found the approach kinda crept up on me, and some of the three-way scenes are near-impeccable, both technically and dramatically.

When your story largely involves watching someone lose their mind, keeping it interesting for the viewer is not an easy task to pull off. Benson succeeds, even if you’ll be reluctant to commit too far, because it’s clear that what Grace remembers, and what actually happened, may be radically different things. There’s a sudden effort at the end to tie everything together into urban legend, which I’m not sure is particularly helpful. It seems to come out of nowhere and feels like pandering toward a sequel. Trim those few minutes off, because you’ll know the “true” ending when you see it, and it would be a tighter overall product. Yet, there’s still enough of merit here to make it worthwhile, if admittedly this could be seen as merely confirming our strong preference against woodland wandering.

Dir: Jeremy Benson
Star: Juliet Reeves, Charisma Carpenter, Lee Perkins, Jeremy London

47 Meters Down

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“Nobody expects the sharkish inquisition!”

Stealing from both Open Water and The Shallows, this takes two sisters on a scuba-diving trip in Mexico. There’s Lisa (Moore) and Kate (Holt): the latter is all gung-ho about the chance to dive with sharks, while the former is considerably less enthusiastic, about life in general, being on the wrong side of a break-up. And, whaddya know, her concerns prove to be entirely valid, as the chain of the observation cage snaps, sending them plunging 150 feet down into the water. Air is limited, the sharks are circling, and they’ve fallen out of radio range with the boat above. How are they going to survive?

I’ve read thoroughly scathing reviews of this from scuba divers, criticizing a number of technical aspects – for instance, their air would be woefully insufficient. As someone who has never even snorkeled, I can only acknowledge these and move on, since they didn’t impact my opinion much. Though I have to say, I did notice how novice diver Lisa becomes remarkably proficient over the course of the film, even swapping out her tank on the fly, something I imagine isn’t a novice task. It is necessary to accept that the entire thing is inevitably going to be highly contrived: the sharks appear only when required, and don’t attack when that’s needed, too. These are creatures, strictly necessary to the plot, and it’s a mechanism which is largely par for the genre course. Who needs motivation? They’re freakin’ sharks!!!

Still, for what it is, this does the job, the director pushing the appropriate buttons with a degree of competence. After a somewhat shaky opening reel, where you wonder how much of the film is going to be emotion-driven, it settles down to what matters. This means a straightforward Problem → Solution → Execution cycle, with the sisters having to come up with strategies for the issues as they arise. Having two leads does help avoid the awkward structure we saw in The Shallows, with the heroine speaking to a conveniently wounded seagull, largely in order to avoid 80 minutes without dialogue. Fortunately for this film, Lisa and Kate are conveniently wearing masks with radios, so they can emote to each other, instead of being limited to enthusiastic hand-signals.

The ending is certainly reminiscent of another movie you’ll find on this site. I’ll avoid explicit spoilers, but it got our seal of approval, and if you’ve seen the film in question, you’ll certainly look askance at the wholesale hijacking carried out here. It’s this general lack of many ideas entirely its own, which prevents this from being as successful as it might be. The performances and direction are good enough for the job, and it laudably avoids any romantic interest worth mentioning at all. This film instead has a single goal, much like sharks are machines with one purpose: killing… Killing and eating. Their two purposes are killing and eating. And making little sharks. Their three purposes are killing, eating, and making little sharks. And an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. Er, among their purposes are such elements as…

I’ll come in again.

Dir: Johannes Roberts
Star: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt
a.k.a. In the Deep

Survivor (2014)

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“The post-apocalyptic horse whisperer.”

Arrowstorm Entertainment appear to have quietly become a minor creator of action heroine flicks. We’ve previously written about several entries in their Mythica series, and also Cyborg X, but seem to have missed this one. As in Mythica, the “name” star here is Hercules himself, Sorbo, who plays Captain Hunter. He’s in charge of one of seven interstellar ships, dispatched from Earth after the conditions for life here became increasingly precarious. Having spent four decades in space, they pick up a message, but when attempting to reach its source, go through a wormhole and their shuttle craft disintegrates. Hunter and his crew are scattered across the surface; with the captain having a broken leg, it’s up to his most highly-trained recruit, Kate Mitra (Chuchran) to rescue him.

Which would be fine, if that’s what it was. The first half of the film, in particular the section which has Mitra battling her way across the unforgiving landscape, and against the creatures (both humanoid and… not so much) who inhabit the planet, is actually pretty good. Chuchran looks thoroughly convincing, possessing actual muscle tone; the production makes good use of the Utah landscapes; and the lack of dialogue here may well work to the movie’s benefit. It’s undeniably a distraction how evolution on this alien solar system managed to produce something looking exactly like a horse. This is explained… but I have to say, the reason is something I had strongly suspected before it was delivered, and had been hoping I was wide of the mark.

Sadly, I wasn’t, and the film’s second half is considerably weaker. This stops focusing on its main strength – the heroine – and doesn’t live up to the poster tag-lines which use both the worlds “only survivor” and “alone”. She turns out to be neither, and the plot disintegrates into some kind of squabble between the tribes of local inhabitants, along with a couple of (somewhat convincing) monsters. Combine this with the explanation mentioned above, and my interest evaporated – in the same way the oceans back on Earth apparently had, according to Kate’s opening voice-over. Rather than going in an original direction, as had been the case earlier on, the influences become painfully obvious, and this film does not benefit in any such comparison.

From the technical point of view, this isn’t too bad, especially considering the budget was so low, a significant fraction came through Kickstarter. It mixes CGI and practical effects to generally decent effect; the odd shot looks ropey, and some of the “mutants” are a little Halloween-esque, but I’m gradually learning that comes with the Arrowstorm territory. There is just a strong sense of unfulfilled potential; in Chuchran, they had someone who could have been capable of carrying the entire film on her own. To see her character largely shuffled off to the side during the latter stages was a bit of a disappointment, and I hope future projects will offer her the opportunity she appears to deserve, based on a solid showing here.

Dir: John Lyde
Star: Danielle Chuchran, Kevin Sorbo, Rocky Myers, Ruby Jones

Miracles Still Happen

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“Truth is certainly more entertaining than fiction.”

We documented elsewhere the incredible, true survival story of Juliane Koepcke, who survived a two-mile fall from the sky, then 10 days alone in the Amazon rain-forest. Naturally, it wasn’t long before a “true-life adventure” version of the story made its way to the screen, starring English actress Susan Penhaligon as Juliane. Outside of Penhaligon, and the actor and actress who play Koepcke’s father and mother (Muller and Galvani), the hook here is that everyone else plays themselves, such as the people involved in the search and rescue mission, for example.

Unfortunately, it isn’t much of a hook, because they didn’t really do much. Like finding the freakin’ plane, it being left up to Koepcke more or less to rescue herself, walking out of the jungle to be found by some very surprised loggers, ten days after the crash. Thus, you get a lot of footage of people flying planes, taking off, landing, radioing in for instructions… None of which adds significantly to the atmosphere, or adds any factual notes of importance. The film is also hamstrung by the very fact this is a saga of solo adventure, which means that once Juliana hits the ground like a giant lawn-dart, it’s her against the jungle. And the jungle isn’t exactly a witty, sparkling conversationalist.

Working around this, Scotese makes heavy use of flashbacks and voiceover. It does stick relatively closely to the facts of the narrative. There is some scathing criticism of this film in Werner Herzog’s documentary about her ordeal, Wings of Hope; Herzog describes it as “extraordinarily bad”, and Koepcke pans Penhaligon for stumbling through the jungle “with the look of a hunted doe” (as shown above!). However, she did apparently consult with the creators – likely further than certain Italian moviemakers would have gone, especially in the seventies. So most of the key moments do agree with what Juliane has said over the years. For instance, she did remember a key survival lesson about finding a stream and following it down, and she did stumble across some crash victims, briefly wondering if they included her mother, with whom she had flown.

It’s generally better off when it simply concentrates on the perilous jungle, especially the moments when you get some idea of scale. The Amazon is big, folks. Credit also due to Penhaligon, who gets steadily more disheveled over the course of what can’t have been an easy film to shoot. She certainly gets closer to a very large anaconda than I would have been prepared to go! But watching her stagger, increasingly bedraggled, around the rainforest is something that isn’t enough to sustain interest. We can only wonder what the results might have been like had Herzog, who narrowly escaped being on the plane which crashed (doing location scouting for Aguirre, Wrath of God), directed this instead.

Oddly, this is credited to ‘Brut Productions’, which was the film production division of cosmetics company Fabergé. I say oddly, because those of a certain age and location will remember 70’s commercials in which heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper touted “the great smell of Brut” aftershave. Seeing its logo pop up in the opening credits here was certainly unexpected. I may well remember that much more than the rest of the film

Dir: Giuseppe Maria Scotese
Star: Susan Penhaligon, Paul Muller, Graziella Galvani