“A B-movie, and entirely unashamed of it.”
Lurking behind what has surely to be one of the worst titles in cinema history (truly a Troma creation), to my surprise, this is actually a solid enough little low-budget flick – albeit one that is straightforward to the point of idiocy. Widow Susan Morris (Sweeney – blonde, so definitely not the woman on the cover!) is out in the wilds. looking for a house where she can get away from it all. Unfortunately, she crosses paths with the monstrous Mongo (Oldfield, who reminds me of someone, but I can’t work out who) and his gang of drug-peddlers, and they do not take kindly to the interruption. It isn’t long before Susan has to find herself a new realtor. And that’s the least of her worries, as she finds herself perpetually in peril from the gang, who have every intent of raping and then killing her. Or maybe killing her, then raping her. They don’t seem too fussy about that. But everybody has their breaking point, and when they push Susan too far, she snaps, and takes the fight to her attackers.
Yes, it’s dumb. Yes, it’s cheap. Yes, it makes little or no sense, in particular her sudden transformation from plucky but largely ineffective heroine [who can’t even stab someone in a way that causes them more than moderate discomfort] into a warrior woman, capable of embedding a shiny axe in your head from 15 paces. But, you know what? It’s never boring, and I’ve sat through more than my fair share of low-budget crap that figures talk is cheap – so we’ll pad things out with lots and lots of that, before getting to anything approaching the meaty stuff. No such bait and switch here. We open with Mongo demonstrating his favourite weapon, a headpiece with a spike attached, which makes him look like a disgruntled unicorn, and after little more than five minutes of backstory involving Susan chatting to the real-estate agent, things kick off. And once they do, they don’t stop kicking until the final credits roll after 81 briskly entertaining minutes, as she is harried from one peril to the next, with laudable diligence (if variable competence) by Mongo and his henchmen.
Few involved here show any degree of acting talent, yet this shortcoming doesn’t matter very much, since we’re dealing with broad caricatures – let’s face it, subtlety would be a waste of time. There are some ludicrous mis-steps, such as the sequence where Susan escapes by running over the heads of the gang, which appears to have strayed in from a Jet Li movie. In what world does this even make sense? It could also have done with ramping up the exploitation elements considerably: much of the violence is implied (though the guy getting impaled on a nail was nicely done) and there’s no nudity. If talk is cheap, breasts are almost as inexpensive, and much more appreciated. It would also have helped if the stuntman used to stand-in for Sweaney, had been given a wig that matched her hair: hers is wavy, his is curly, and the difference is obvious. Yet I can’t bring myself to hate this, despite its obvious flaws. I was satisfactorily entertained, even without the use of alcohol.
Dir: Patrick G. Donahue
Star: Debra Sweaney, Brian Oldfield, Sean P. Donahue, Mike Donahue
a.k.a. Savage Instinct