Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Victim (2011)

Based on a story by Reed Lackey, The Victim is written and directed by, and stars, Michael Biehn and provides a lot of fun for horror fans and, of course, fans of the leading man.

The movie begins with a surprising and sudden death before cutting to a young woman (Annie, played by Jennifer Blanc) running through some woods in a state of fear. Typical horror/exploitation movie fare. She then finds a cabin in the woods, knocks on the door and meets loner Kyle Limato (Biehn). He doesn't want to be bothered and he certainly doesn't want any trouble, which is what he suspects he's in for when Annie tells him about police officers chasing her through the woods after the accidental death of her friend. Kyle really doesn't want to get involved with this situation, but when the police officers (played by Ryan Honey and Denny Kirkwood) come snooping around he starts to think that Annie may be telling the truth and that he might be able to help her. It's not long until both of them are in danger as the two men in pursuit of Annie grow more and more desperate.

While it doesn't quite overcome its limitations - low budget, small scope, relatively small cast - I was pleasantly surprised by how much The Victim gets right. Biehn obviously knows his stuff and he gets it all in the movie in just the right mix. There's some violence, a bit of nudity, more violence and plenty of gruff one-liners delivered by the reluctant hero dragged into the big mess.

Ryan Honey and Denny Kirkwood are very enjoyable as the two men trying to cover up one horrible mistake, with the latter at least showing some regret as things spiral further and further out of control. Jennifer Blanc is fine as Annie and Biehn is his usual good self as Kyle. There's also a fun role for the lovely Danielle Harris, who has her most memorable "screen entrance" to date.

I can't think of anything more to say about the film, really. It doesn't want to be anything deep and meaningful and it isn't. That's not damning the thing with faint praise. On the contrary, The Victim is slightly refreshing in its approach, coming along after so many movies that have felt the need to emulate old film stock, throw in fashions and props from decades gone by and take any opportunity to nod and wink at the audience while often failing to get the basics right. This film gets the basics right and also contains a few nice references to past classics. It's not unmissable, it's not great, but it is good enough to watch and lend some support to. Do it for Biehn.


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