EIFF 09: Salvage
Salvage starts out as a pretty strong contender for a good claustrophobic horror film; it's just a shame that it sacrifices everything in the final third by resorting to a jumble of horror cliches and illogical writing.
The day starts out pretty badly for Beth when her estranged daughter turns up early for a Christmas stay, walking in on her and a one-night-stand going hard at it. However, just when it looks like this domestic drama couldn't get any worse, a special forces team drops out of nowhere and starts ordering the neighborhood to lock themselves indoors. The stage is set for a great thriller as the trapped residents try to work out if this is the start of some terrorist attack or something far worse.
The initial build up is pretty well done with confusion giving way to paranoia and eventually blood. However, the more the movie goes on, the more it struggles to keep it's originality and freshness. More than once the writers insist on painting themselves in to a corner and then using insulting convenience to get themselves out again. Add to that the old pitfall of explaining and showing too much; the truth behind what's going on would have been better left more vague and the eventual reveal is more in the vein of Dr Who than a genuine horror film. This has the added disadvantage that the result is rather more silly than sincere, rendering the final scenes which should be powerful as (especially judging by some of the audience's reactions in my screenings) laughable.
Surely in this day and age of endless horror remakes and do-overs and brainless sequels, the kind of tiresomely frequent issues that hamper the second half ofSalvage would be obvious to anyone entering in to trying to write an original horror movie. Sadly until more writers throw 30 year old conventions out the window in favor of something more challenging, the horror genre will continue to stagnate with entries like this.
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