Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fleshburn (1984)

It's not a good sign when you literally yell at a movie "oh just end already!".

It's a shame that this state of affairs came after I found the first two-thirds of the film tolerably watchable.

A crazed Vietnam vet escapes from a mental institution with a plan to get revenge on the doctors that put him there.  So far, so low rent First Blood.  However, whereas John Rambo was a basically good man who got pushed too far, Calvin Duggai is a certified loon.  He kidnaps the four doctors, steals their shoes, and ditches them a hundred miles into the desert.  Either they'll stay and they'll die, or they'll try to leave and he'll kill them.

So this is clearly not a man for whom we are supposed to feel sympathy.

One of the psychiatrists has some desert survival skills, though.  Duggai knew this, and the other man's ability to help keep the others alive was probably part of his plan to torture them.  The group dig pits for shelter from the sun - the earth a few feet down is significantly cooler than on the surface - crush cactus for liquid, and eventually rig snares for rabbits.  Somehow they manage to skin those, which gives them makeshift shoes so that two of them can attempt an escape while the others remain to try and trick Duggai into thinking they're all still there.

Up until now, the stresses between the doctors, and the survival tricks they've used, have made for a relatively okay experience, as long as one overlooks the occasional bits revolving around Duggai as he lurks nearby, which are ... a bit nutty, shall we say.

But it's not until the escape attempt that the film really goes off the rails.  The ensuing game of cat and mouse between Duggai and the two man 'escape party' is frankly too long and not as interesting as the film makers apparently thought it was.  Then once it finally resolves, there's an unnecessarily long and tedious concluding scene that seems to exist only to make me shout at the TV.

No need to waste your time with this one.

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