Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DVD Review: Salvage (2007)

SALVAGE (2007)

"What If Everyday You Relived Your Own Murder?"
Echo Bridge Entertainment

RATED: Unrated
DIRECTOR: Joshua and Jeffrey Crook
CAST: Lauren Currie Lewis (Claire Parker), Chris Ferry (Duke), Cody Darbe (Jimmy)

SUMMARY: Claire Parker is going to die. At the hands of a sadistic and depraved killer, she will endure a terrifying, unimaginable brutal death--and it will all happen again. After being beaten, dragged, sliced, and stabbed, Claire awakens at work--where it all began--untouched and unharmed. But the hellish ordeal is far from over. The madman is back and he's ready for more blood... (from the Salvage DVD)

FILM: This journey begins as Claire Parker is getting off of the graveyard shift at the Starfire Express, a 24 hour convenience store. She walks down the street a ways and waits for her boyfriend Jimmy who works at the salvage yard to pick her up. A man calling himself Duke pulls up alongside her in Jimmy's truck. He says that he works with Jimmy and has been sent to take her home. On the ride to Claire's house Duke comes off as a pretty greasy guy with some inappropriate comments towards Claire. It only gets creepier from there as he tries to invite himself into Claire's home but she's not having it. He tries to lure her out saying that she's dropped an earring in the cab of the truck. She tells him to leave it on the door step and she'll retrieve it later, and so he does. Though she is sure he's gone on his way she still cautiously unlocks and opens the door only a smidgen, just enough to squeeze her arm through the opening and grab the earring then she quickly locks up again. Relieved she makes her way to the kitchen only to discover that the backdoor is open. A rush of fear rushes over her as Duke appears and strikes her and then drags her screaming to the basement. It's at this point that Claire awakens at the Starfire Express, it was only a dream ...or was it? The events unfold in a similar fashion, only this time Jimmy does pick her up takes her home and they go off to school. Only now she's seeing visions of Duke and things seem wrong, not right. It's at this point that you realize Claire is reliving her murder again and again in a nightmarish time loop. Each time she awakens at the moment of death and is able to gleen a bit more information about who Duke is and what's happening to her.

Salvage was made on a limited budget but the acting, cinematography and story are really strong. The acting from Lauren Claire Lewis and Chris Ferry is particularly good. Ferry as Duke is a menacing figure with a gruff voice, very chilling. Lauren is your every girl, not an overly strong female character but very likable and sympathetic.

It's a brutal film though it's not especially gore-laden. The effects are modest and well done. Some definite use of CGI that's not too distracting, including a great shotgun blast to the face. There's a face peeling scene in the film that is a prime example of the camera pulling away from the savagery and letting the tension and sound design do the heavy lifting.

The film was shot a mini DV and looks pretty good. There have been some color enhancements to the image that gives the film a surreal look, it works wonderfully. Also working in the films favor is a really effective film score from Evan Wilson (A Kiss of Chaos, Rise of the Dead)

DVD: The Salvage DVD from Echo Bridge Entertainment is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic wide screen. I was a bit disappointed in the non-anamorphic letter boxed transfer to be truthful. It's 2010, almost every home must have a wide screen television by now, right? That said, the image looks quite good if a bit soft. The 5.1 audio track is also decent if not overly active. There are precious few supplemental materials here including a trailer and a Crook Bros. commentary track which is mostly technical in nature with very little discussed in regards to story.

VERDICT: A very good psychological thriller that relies on story, tension and haunting atmosphere (not gore) and nudity to carry it through. I'll be looking forward to the next Crook Brothers project. ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)