Monday, July 5, 2010

One A Week Reviews #29: Salvage

The fine, fine folks at Revolver entertainment sent me a unassuming envelope with the DVD for Salvage in it. I must remember how many wonderfully ominous gifts can come in plain brown wrappers...

A leafy British cul-de-sac on Christmas Eve seems a quiet, peaceful place at first glance. Milk deliveries still go on here and there's a paper boy. One who's visit to the woods shows that not everything is kosher in this little hamlet.

Jodie gets dropped off for a holiday visit with her estranged mother Beth, but it goes south between them pretty quickly. Beth can't do much about it though before she finds herself surrounded by a SWAT team and blood-spattered neighbors. Under house arrest without any explanations, Beth and her man-friend are trapped on one side of the street and Jodie on the other. It's amazing how a few dozen armed men outside can make a house seem less like a home and more like a prison, eh?

Right off the bat, the questions start. What got into the neighbor the SWAT team had to shoot? What's in the large shipping container washed up on shore right by their leafy, nondescript neighborhood? Why is there a trail of homicides from there to here, and who left the bloody sledgehammer in the upstairs hallway? Most of all, how will Beth ever get across the street?

Only 75 taught, dramatic minutes Salvage quickly escalates from a simple no-good morning to a genuinely scary nail-biter. The bodies stack up as fast as the questions do, and the realistic suburban setting makes the spattered blood all the more disturbing. One scene I won't spoil, where something is found in the kitchen, was equal parts nauseating and genuinely disturbing. Writer/director Lawrence Gough delivers here as do leads Neve McIntosh and Shaun Dooley. They keep a sense of naturalism in their character's reactions to very extreme situations. They make just going in the backyard seem heart-stoppingly courageous.

I think Salvage will polarize audiences. If you let it engage you, it's a short, nasty thriller that moves so fast you'll feel assaulted. That's a good thing in this case. The first time I noticed a breather was at the 50 minute mark and I swear I thought it was about the 20... and then it goes into some serious "WTF/made-me-jump" territory.  Salvage held me gripped and breathless. I'm not going to give away more or the plot or twists, because I really do think it's worth a watch. I highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment